Don’t invite mozzies to your holidays

Thursday, 13 April 2017

As Ross River virus cases near the 400 mark already this year, South Australians are being reminded to cover up and prevent mozzie bites this Easter school holiday break.

SA Health Director of Health Protection Dr Chris Lease said weather conditions late last year led to perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes.

“We’ve already seen more than 370 Ross River virus cases in South Australia this year, compared with 33 at the same time last year,” Dr Lease said.

“This is a huge increase and while a change in laboratory testing procedures has partially contributed to this, it highlights the continue threat of mosquito-borne viruses.

“We’re still seeing cases come through, even as we move into the cooler months, so it is important that people remain vigilant in protecting themselves against mosquito bites particularly as they may be spending more time outdoors these holidays.

“That itchy spot on your arm could signal something much more harmful like Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus which have symptoms such as fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.

“There is currently no cure or vaccine for either virus and while most people recover in a few weeks, symptoms can persist for months, and in some cases for over a year.”

Dr Lease said the best way to protect against mosquito-borne disease is to prevent being bitten.

“Mosquitoes breed in still water, often in puddles and containers including your boats canoes or dinghy, so we recommend that they are stored away,” Dr Lease said.

“Make sure windows and openings in your home, tent or caravan are fitted with mosquito-proof mesh or cover sleeping areas with nets, especially if you’re camping outdoors near a creek or river.

“It’s also important to ‘fight the bite’ by covering up with long, loose fitting and light coloured clothing, and using an insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin.”

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  2014 2015 2016 2017
Barmah Forest virus 0 1 5 1
Ross River virus 73 112 99 378



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