Mozzie warning follows record virus cases

February 22, 2017

Watch out: Mosquitoes are out in the Southern Riverina area..

Record numbers of Ross River virus cases in the southern Riverina notified to the Murrumbidgee Local Health District has prompted further warnings for people to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

In Berrigan Shire there were 10 cases of the virus notified in January and another 10 in December.

In January, the Public Health Unit received 148 notifications of people infected with Ross River virus, up from 116 in December.

Public Health director Tracey Oakman said the numbers recorded in Berrigan Shire were higher than other areas in the region, except for Albury-Wodonga, which has a significantly larger population.

‘‘It’s definitely significant for the population of Berrigan Shire,’’ she said.

‘‘(Across the area there are) significantly higher number of notifications than we usually see in January.’’

Ongoing detections of arboviruses in mosquitoes trapped in the region has prompted MLHD to again issue its warning message for the local area.

Mrs Oakman said over the season she has received notification of a number of different arbovirus detections in mosquitoes, including Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Kunjin and Sindbis virus.

‘‘There is a heightened risk to people in the region of contracting one of the arboviruses if they are bitten by a mosquito,’’ she said.

‘‘There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.’’

The viruses are not fatal to humans but they can cause persistent and debilitating symptoms such as joint aches and pains, fever, chills, headache and sometimes a rash.

‘‘The rash usually disappears after seven to 10 days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months,’’ Mrs Oakman said.

She urged people to take simple precautions against mosquito bites, including screening all windows and doors, wearing protective clothing and insect repellent, lighting mosquito coils and minimising water lying around the house and garden.

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