BITING SEASON: The current weather on the Fraser Coast is providing an optimum breeding environment for mosquitoes.
BITING SEASON: The current weather on the Fraser Coast is providing an optimum breeding environment for mosquitoes. Henrik_L

An influx of mozzies is coming, and it could be dangerous

MORE than 60 cases of mosquito viruses have already been diagnosed on the Fraser Coast this year.

And Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Public Health Director Dr Margaret Young said there could be more to come, due to perfect breeding conditions.

The Wide Bay Public Health Unit is urging the community to be on guard against the blood sucking mosquitoes.

"Notifications are currently low but are expected to increase in coming weeks," she said.

"Infections are highest during summer and autumn."

Dr Young said apart from causing discomfort, some types of mosquitoes could spread serious disease.

Barmah Forest and Ross River are the two most likely diseases that Fraser Coast residents could get from mosquitoes.

Out of the total diagnoses in Fraser Coast this year, 57 have been Ross River and six were Barmah Forest. Last year, there were 67 people with Ross River and 15 with Barmah Forest, with similar yet sightly higher numbers in 2014.

And in 2013, the Barmah Forest virus proved most common in the Fraser Coast area affecting 72 people compared to 35 people with Ross River.

"These viruses can cause aching joints and pains, lethargy and headaches," Dr Young said.

"People should see their GP if symptoms lasted for more than a day or two.

"Blood tests are required to make a specific diagnosis, but there is no specific treatment."

The viruses can have life- changing impacts.

"Both cause joint pain that can persist for three to six months, and can be disabling," Dr Young said.

"Most commonly involved joints are ankles, wrists, knees and fingers.

Dr Young said mosquitoes would breed in anything that could hold water.

 

KEEP YOURSELF PROTECTED FROM MOSQUITOES

There are a number of steps that people can take to reduce potential mosquito-breeding areas and to avoid mosquito bites.

These include:

  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants.  
  • Always apply a suitable insect repellent on exposed skin areas when camping, in the garden or while at barbecues, and avoid going outside unprotected between dusk and dawn.  
  • Use knockdown insect spray in your house to kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
  • Ensure all insect screens on windows and doors are in good condition.
  • Ensure screens on rainwater tanks are in good, emptying containers that hold water and regular maintenance of pools and fish ponds.  
     

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