Residents and visitors to the region are being warned to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases, following an increase of mosquitoes in the area.
Mosquito trapping around the Alfords Point area of the Georges River last week showed increasing numbers of the salt-marsh mosquito Aedes vigilax. The increase means there is greater risk of people being bitten and potentially being infected with harmful viruses such as the Ross River virus, which was identified in the trapped mosquitoes.
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District public health director Professor Mark Ferson said: “Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus are spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected animals. Symptoms may include tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints. While these symptoms usually subside after several days, some people may experience symptoms for weeks, or even months,” Professor Ferson said.
“Members of the public should see their local doctor if they experience these symptoms. The infection is diagnosed by a blood test and a second blood test taken two weeks after the first may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
“There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten.”
- Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
- Avoid being outside unprotected when mosquitoes are common at dawn and dusk. When outside, cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
- Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas (as directed on the container). Repellents containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin are best. Don’t use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months. Instead use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies.
- Eradicate mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as containers that hold water.
- Use flyscreens on windows and doors of houses and keep them in good order.
- When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets.