Chance of dengue fever outbreak 'remote'

THE chance of a dengue fever outbreak on the Northern Rivers was remote, Ballina Shire Council environmental officer Graham Plumb said.

But people should protect themselves against other mosquito-borne diseases.

Far North Queensland is facing a dengue fever outbreak, with more than 83 cases in Cairns and a handful in Townsville.

A Melbourne University researcher has said rainwater tanks may help spread the killer fever as far south as Sydney.

But Mr Plumb, who has done regular mosquito monitoring at Ballina and Lennox Head for many years, said a recent survey found no mosquitoes of the type that carried dengue - Aedes aegypti. “They don't seem to survive our winters very well,” he said.

This type of mozzie, found in Queensland's far north, breeds around the home, in small puddles that have accumulated in sheet iron and garbage cans.

Mr Plumb said there had been a very brief outbreak of dengue in our area immediately after World War II, when some larvae may have been shipped to the region with wartime equipment.

While Ross River and Barmah Forest Disease could occur here, Mr Plumb had not found a mosquito carrying dengue in years.

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