Health warning on mosquitoes - 29 December 2011
Residents and visitors along the Murray River in northern Victoria are being warned to protect themselves against mosquitoes following the detection of Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVE) in New South Wales.
Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester said the disease has been detected in sentinel chickens in southern New South Wales, including one chicken in a flock at Moama, just across the border from Echuca
No case of the disease has been detected in humans. The last human case of MVE in Victoria was reported in 1974 when a large outbreak occurred throughout much of south eastern Australia.
Following the 1974 outbreak, flocks of chickens were placed at locations throughout the Murray River region to act as an early warning system for possible human infections with this disease.
Currently there are nine flocks along the Murray and in rural areas of Victoria.
What are the symptoms of Murray Valley encephalitis virus?
Most people who are infected do not develop symptoms. However, if symptoms occur, they include:
- severe headache
- high fever
- tremor and seizures.
People experiencing such symptoms should seek urgent medical attention from their GP or their local hospital.
How to protect against mosquitoes
Traditionally mosquitoes are at their most active at dawn and dusk.
To reduce the chances of being bitten, people in mosquito-prone areas should take the following precautions:
- use insect repellents containing picaridin or DEET as an active ingredient on exposed skin areas when camping or engaging in any outdoor activity
- ensure that insect screens fitted to doors and windows are in good condition
- use mosquito coils or citronella candles in small outdoor protected areas.
- wear long, loose-fitting clothing, preferably in light colours
- get rid of stagnant water around the home or campsites.
Mosquitoes will breed in anything that can hold water including old tyres, unused fish ponds and pot plant holders. As mosquitoes take about 10 days to breed, water containers should be emptied at least once a week.
For more information on Murray Valley encephalitis go to:
For more information on managing mosquitoes go to: