Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) is urging residents and visitors to the region to take extra precautions and protect themselves against mosquitoes following a detection of Ross River viruses in mosquitoes at Moama.
Acting Director of Public Health, Alison Nikitas said that the State’s arbovirus monitoring program had recently detected an arboviral isolate of Ross River virus.
With the high rainfall and flooding, mosquito numbers have been high across the region. Mosquitoes could also carry other viruses such as Barmah Forest virus and the more serious viruses such as Kunjin and Murray Valley Encephalitis.
“These infections can cause symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints,” Ms Nikitas said. “There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
An infected person’s symptoms would appear up to eight weeks after initial contact with the virus and may continue up to two years after infection.
Simple steps to avoid mosquito bites include:
· Ensure there are no areas where mosquitoes can breed around the home – anywhere that can hold a small amount of water
· Cover up when outside
· Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin and re-apply repellent within a few hours – light mosquito coils indoors (devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective)
· Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens and make sure tent screens are zipped closed at all times
· Use a knock-down spray in tents or bedrooms about 20 minutes before going to bed.
MLHD recommend Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin based products. Topical repellents are not recommended for use on children under three months of age. Use of physical barriers such as netting of prams, cots and play areas is preferred. Repellents containing less than 10 per cent DEET or Picaridin are safe for older children if applied according instructions.
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