Huge spike in mozzie-borne viruses in Northern NSW
WITH a spike in mosquito virus infection rates, Northern Rivers residents are reminded to protect themselves against mosquitoes which remain in high numbers late in the season.
North Coast Public Health Unity Senior Environmental Health Officer Paull Williamson said mosquitoes have persisted in large numbers through to early autumn, along with the warm weather in recent weeks.
The NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program recently detected Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus in mosquitoes in the Northern NSW area.
Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Mr Williamson said, so far this year, 32 north coast residents have been diagnosed with Barmah Forest virus infection and 153 with Ross River virus infections, which is two and three times the number of infections, respectively, for the same period last year.
In the last four weeks, one hundred and nineteen of these infections have been reported, which is six times the number reported in the same period last year.
Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
- Cover up as much as possible when outside with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
- Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration.