Free SMS program launched to tackle surge in mosquito-borne diseases

Free SMS program launched to tackle surge in mosquito-borne diseases

Byron Shire Council has joined with Northern Rivers councils and the North Coast Public Health Unit to launch the Tackling Mosquitoes Together campaign and free text message program aimed at reducing the disease risks and nuisance of mosquitoes.

“A whopping 429 cases of Ross River Virus were reported by the Northern NSW Local Health District in 2020 which is the second highest number of cases on record, up from an average of 135 cases a year over the last 30 years.

“Our free SMS text message program, which I strongly urge all residents to join, provides the tips and tools needed to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the growing risk of mosquito-borne disease,” Council’s Team Leader Environmental Health, Enzo Picerni said.

“We know that cases of Ross River virus disease are most commonly reported in late Summer and early Autumn, so it’s important residents get on board now and know what they can do to protect themselves and the community,” he said.

The most common mosquito-borne diseases in the Northern Rivers are Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus.

They are not fatal, but they can cause serious illness and have long-term health impacts.

The new text message program encourages households to take action by reducing backyard mosquito breeding habitats, and through personal protection.

The text messages include videos, images and common mozzie myth busters and will be sent based on seasonal and weather factors, including tides and rain fall events to help remind us to take the actions to reduce risks at the most effective time.

To join up, simply go to the Tackling Mosquitoes Together website and click on the SMS Program sign up: www.tacklingmosquitoestogether.com.au

Tackling Mosquitoes Together has been co-designed with community, councils and other key stakeholders, through a collaborative design process, so that it receives community support and uptake for ongoing behaviour change.

Tackling Mosquitoes Together was proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Local Government NSW.

“If we all do our bit in our own backyard, we can make a difference and help protect the whole community,” Mr Picerni said.

For more information go to: www.tacklingmosquitoestogether.com.au

9th Feb 2021 Byron Shire Council

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