Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus
South Western Sydney Local Health District Public Health Unit Acting Director Dr Kate Alexander is urging residents to take extra precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.
Recent mosquito trapping around the Deepwater Park area of the Georges River have showed high numbers of the saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes vigilax.
The NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program recently detected Barmah Forest Virus in mosquitoes around the Georges River.
“Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus are spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected animals. Symptoms may include tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints,” Dr Alexander said.
“There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten.”
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes bypass being outside, unprotected at dawn and dusk.
Other steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
- When outside, cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear
- Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas (as directed on the container)
- Repellents containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin are best
- Don’t use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months. Instead use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies
- Eradicate mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as containers that hold water
- Use flyscreens on windows and doors of houses and keep them in good order
- When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets