Mosquitoes may carry viral diseases and Dr Patrick Morrisey (below, left) and Dr Dave Moss are concerned that nothing is being done to reduce mozzie numbers.
Mosquitoes may carry viral diseases and Dr Patrick Morrisey (below, left) and Dr Dave Moss are concerned that nothing is being done to reduce mozzie numbers. The Northern Star

Shire must tackle rising mosquito risk

DOCTORS David Moss and Patrick Morrissey have called on the Byron Shire Council to swat the area's growing mosquito problem.

Dr Moss, a general practitioner from the Ocean Shores Medical clinic, and Dr Morrissey, a Goonengerry environmental political scientist, are concerned nothing is being done to reduce mozzie numbers or explain to the community how to avoid mosquito-borne viruses.

“Byron Shire Council has voted to act, but has not actually followed up and implemented its resolutions,” Dr Morrissey said.

“Byron Shire Council has resolved on four separate occasions in recent years to take action on mosquitoes, but it appears little is being implemented.”

The council's environmental health officer said a management plan for mosquito control had not been developed, despite council resolutions to do so.

The doctors said the Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses, spread by common mosquitoes, were major local public health issues.

They said rain patterns this year had widened mosquito habitats in the region.

Dr Morrissey also said there had been a marked increase in the number of patients with the illness in northern areas of Byron Shire.

“I am very worried that with large numbers of people presenting with Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus this year, the situation will be repeated next year - or may be even worse,” he said.

Dr Morrissey, who has worked on mosquito control and disease preventative measures in malaria-infected areas of Indonesia, said some developing countries had better disease prevention programs than Australia.

He said he intended to run for a position on Byron Shire Council at the September elections and would highlight the issue as part of his campaign.



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