Due to recent heavy rains and flooding, Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is urging people to take extra precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites, and acquiring mosquito-borne disease.
Jenni Floyd, WNSWLHD Acting Director of Public Health, said it is important for people to vigilant about protecting themselves, particularly after recent rain and floods have led to an increase in mosquito numbers.
“People should do what they can do to avoid mosquito bites as, along with the Ross River Virus, mosquitoes can also spread disease such as Barmah Forest Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis,” Ms Floyd said.
“These infections can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms like tiredness, rash, fever, and sore or swollen joints. The symptoms usually only last a few days but some people may experience them for weeks or even months.
“There are no specific treatments for these viruses and the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
“As a way to help avoid being bitten, it’s important to take steps to eliminate the risk of mosquitoes breeding around your home.
“We are working with a number of agencies to support communities at risk but we encourage residents and visitors to take preventative actions by;
- When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear, particularly at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET), Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms or repel mosquitoes from an area.
- Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
- Remove any water-holding containers outside the house where mosquitoes could breed.
For further information on mosquito-borne disease and ways to protect yourself go to:
Fact sheets on specific mosquito-borne diseases, including Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus, are available at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/pests/vector/Pages/factsheets.aspx