Department of Health

Mosquito warning for metro Melbourne

09/02/17
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Melbourne residents are now being warned to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the detection of Ross River Virus in Frankston and Casey.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Professor Charles Guest said the virus had been detected in six residents across these areas and in mosquitoes trapped nearby.

"None of the people diagnosed with Ross River Virus have travelled to areas where mosquitoes carrying the virus are usually found," Prof. Guest said.

Symptoms for Ross River Virus are fever, headache, aching muscles and/or joints and fatigue. People experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention from their GP or their local hospital. Onset of symptoms may be from 2 to 14 days following a mosquito bite.

"Recent rain and relatively warm weather has created conditions ideal for mosquito breeding and we have seen a significant increase in mosquito numbers as a result," he said.

"Taking measures to avoid bites is a critical step to protect yourself and your family against mosquito-borne diseases."

Across Victoria, enhanced control measures have been introduced with seven councils now able to scale up their activities through additional staff and the purchase of high capacity and specialised spray equipment and vehicles.

Eleven new councils are now undertaking control measures for the first time through the treatment of more mosquito breeding sites.

Prof. Guest says the environmental conditions over the next few weeks may continue to provide ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes.

Simple precautions can help protect against mosquitoes, he said.

"Mosquitoes are at their most active at dawn and dusk, although some species can be present and bite throughout the day," Prof. Guest said.

Householders should ensure that insect screens fitted to doors and windows are in good condition.

"Residents are encouraged to wear long, light coloured loose-fitting clothing and use a suitable insect repellent containing picaridin or DEET as an active ingredient on exposed skin areas," Prof. Guest said.

"Mosquito numbers can be reduced by getting rid of stagnant water around the home or campsites. Mosquitoes will breed in any receptacle that can hold water, including old tyres, unused fish ponds, unsealed water tanks and pot plant holders.

"As mosquitoes can hatch quickly, water containers around the home should be emptied at least once a week."

Information on protecting against mosquito bites is available on the Beat the Bite campaign page on the Better Health Channel.

Reviewed 09 February 2017

Health.vic

Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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