Department of Health

How to Beat the Bite these Easter Holidays

07/04/22

As holidaymakers head north for fresh air these school holidays, Victorians are being reminded that mosquitos are still active at this time of the year.

Mosquitoes carry a range of dangerous diseases including Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus and Ross River Virus.

JE virus, which can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain, was detected in Victoria for the first time earlier this year, with nine confirmed human cases to date. 

Deputy Chief Health Officer Associate Professor Deborah Friedman said most Victorian cases had spent time in Victoria’s north and north-west or southern New South Wales.

“Several Victorian cases had extensive mosquito exposure prior to illness onset, while the majority spent time in the state’s north particularly near the Murray River.” 

“There have also been positive detections of the virus in mosquitoes trapped in four sites in Northwest Victoria near the Murray River.” 

Increased mosquito numbers have been detected along the Murray River with ongoing mosquito trapping and testing being carried out to help identify high-risk areas. 

With an increase of visitors to the region expected over the Easter break, D/CHO Friedman is urging people to enjoy everything the region has to offer but to take simple steps to beat the bite. 

“Anyone is potentially at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and while most bites will only cause minor swelling and irritation, an infected mosquito carries a higher risk.”

Those visiting, living or working in the region, particularly those spending time outdoors, are being reminded of the simple ways they can protect themselves from being bitten: 

  • wear long, loose fitting clothes outdoors
  • use effective mosquito repellents containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin
  • try to limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about
  • use ‘knockdown’ fly sprays and plug-in repellent devices indoors
  • sleep under mosquito nets treated with insecticides if you don’t have flywire screens on windows on your home or are sleeping in an untreated tent or out in the open
  • use mosquito coils, which can be effective in small outdoor areas where you gather to sit or eat.

More information can be found at Beat the Bite! and Japanese encephalitis virus page.

Reviewed 09 April 2022

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