Moira Shire Council is urging visitors and residents to protect themselves, family members and pets from mosquito bites this summer.
Shire’s community general manager Sally Rice said when last year’s flood waters spread across the shire the increased mosquito numbers saw a spike in diseases including Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses.
‘‘Mosquito bites can do more than cause an annoying itch,’’ Ms Rice said.
‘‘Cases are rare, but mosquitoes can transmit Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses and Murray Valley encephalitis.
‘‘By taking some simple precautions we can reduce these risks.’’
Pets are also at risk from these mosquito-borne diseases.
‘‘Mosquitoes are known to carry viruses that affect certain animals, so talk with your vet or rural supply store for ideas on how to reduce the risk of infection,’’ Ms Rice said.
Council uses larvicide in ponding water in urban areas to help control the number of mosquitos, as well as conducting a larvae survey and species identification.
The mosquito monitoring program operates in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and helps monitor mosquito numbers and locate breeding sites.
Traps across the shire are set weekly and the trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resource’s AgriBio Centre at La Trobe University in Melbourne, where they are identified and checked to determine if any of the mosquitoes are carrying viruses.
‘‘Our monitoring program is helping us and our partner agencies understand and combat the risk of mosquito-transmitted viruses,’’ Ms Rice said.
More information about mosquito-borne diseases is available from the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel website.