PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOZZIE BITES THIS SUMMER
Residents and visitors across the Goulburn Valley are being urged to protect themselves, family members and pets from mosquito bites this summer.
Moira Shire Council’s community general manager Sally Rice said when last year’s floodwaters spread across the shire, an increase in mosquito numbers led to a spike in mosquito-borne diseases including Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses.
‘‘Mosquito bites can do more than cause an annoying itch,’’ she said.
‘‘Cases are rare, but mosquitoes can transmit Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses and Murray Valley Encephalitis.’’
Ms Rice said that by taking some simple precautions, residents could reduce their and their pets’ risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease.
‘‘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,’’ she said.
Ms Rice said the Moira council used larvicide in ponding water in urban areas to help control the number of mosquitoes and also did a larvae survey and species identification.
‘‘Traps across the shire are set weekly and the trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources AgriBio Centre at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, where they are identified and checked to determine if any of the mosquitoes are carrying viruses,’’ she said.
The Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel says instances of people contracting Ross River virus could increase as a result of heavy rainfall and floods.
‘‘Ross River virus disease occurs throughout most regions of Australia, particularly around inland waterways and coastal regions,’’ the Better Health Channel website reports.
‘‘Epidemics occur from time to time and are related to environmental conditions that encourage mosquito breeding such as heavy rainfall, floods, high tides and temperature.’’
With the number of Victorians contracting the virus spiking this year, residents are warned to be vigilant against mosquito bites during the warmer months.
The channel said those who contracted the virus might develop a rash and joint pain.
Those struck by Ross River virus may also experience enlarged lymph nodes, especially in their groin or armpits.
It is recommended to visit your doctor as soon as you experience these symptoms.
According to the Better Health Channel, blood tests can reveal if a person has been infected with Ross River virus recently or in the past.
Wear long, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and use effective insect repellents, which need to be applied regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more active and likely to bite.
Ensure your accommodation has flyscreens properly fitted to windows and external doors.
Reduce the number of potential mosquito breeding habitats around your home by ensuring no stagnant water is present. Containers holding water should be emptied and washed regularly.
Products such as the Ultrasonic Mosquito Repeller/Deterrent, which uses audible sound waves emitted by the unit, can either imitate the sound of a dragonfly’s wing vibration, or a male mosquito.