The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents and visitors to the North Coast to protect themselves against mosquitoes which are increasing in numbers as summer progresses.
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Tony Kohlenberg, said local mosquito numbers increase in summer and autumn.
“Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus infections are common on the North Coast with an average of 240 cases of each virus reported to the Public Health Unit each year”.
These viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in ponding water, swampy areas and around waterways.
The symptoms may include tiredness, aching muscles, swollen painful joints and fevers. Some people may develop a rash, usually on the trunk and limbs and this may last for 7-10 days.
Symptoms usually develop about 7-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Many people with the infection do not develop any symptoms of the disease.
The majority of people with Barmah Forest virus or Ross River virus infection recover completely in a few weeks. Others may experience symptoms such as joint pain and tiredness for many months. There is no specific treatment for these infections.
Simple 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.
- Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.
- Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors.
- Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
- When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.
“Avoiding infection with these viruses means avoiding mosquito bites, especially in the warmer months of the year when mosquitoes are most active,” Tony Kohlenberg said.
Fact sheets are available from the NSW Health website at: