22 February 2019

Sydney residents are being reminded to protect themselves against mosquito bites, as mosquito trapping at Deepwater Park, Bankstown and Sydney Olympic Park has identified mosquitoes carrying Ross River virus.

It is particularly important for people enjoying outdoor activities, such as camping or fishing, in areas with high mosquito numbers take precautions to avoid being bitten.

NSW Health Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said while Ross River infection was relatively rare in Sydney, high numbers of mosquitoes at this time of year mean people should be cautious.

“There is no treatment for Ross River Virus. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid getting bitten,” he said.

Symptoms include tiredness, rash, fever and sore and swollen joints, typically within three weeks of being bitten. They can subside after several days but some people may experience them for weeks or even months.

“People should see their doctor if they experience these symptoms,” Dr Broome said.

“NSW Health continues to monitor notified cases of Ross River and other mosquito-borne virus infections to determine the number of cases and whether the infection was acquired locally or elsewhere.”

Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:

  • Avoid being outside unprotected at dusk, when mosquitoes are commonly active and cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
  • Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas. Repellents containing Diethyl Toluamide or Picaridin recommended. Repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus can also provide adequate protection.
  • Don’t use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months. Instead use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas.
  • Eradicate mosquito breeding sites around the home, including containers that hold water.
  • Use flyscreens on windows and doors of houses and keep them in good order.
  • When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets.

Each summer, NSW Health routinely monitors notified cases of mosquito borne illness and monitors mosquito populations for viruses in strategic locations.

For more information, visit Ross River fever.