planning to enjoy the great outdoors these school holidays should take extra
care against mosquito bites to prevent catching any serious diseases, NSW
Health has warned.
Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said holiday- makers
enjoying outdoor activities should cover up and use insect repellent.
“Recent rain and
warmer autumn weather have led to higher than average numbers of mosquitoes in
coastal areas, so people should be cautious,” Dr Broome said.
are usually found in warm, humid climates and near water, so it’s especially
important to take extra care when camping, fishing or hiking to avoid Ross
River or Barmah Forest virus.”
NSW Arbovirus Surveillance
Program regularly monitors mosquito numbers and virus activity in collaboration
with local authorities to provide warnings to the community.
So far this year
there have been 171 cases of Ross River and 21 cases of Barmah Forest virus
infections reported in NSW.
develop in around
7 to 10 days and can resemble the flu, with fever
and aches and pains in muscles and joints. There can also be a rash associated
with them, and generally feeling tired and weak,” Dr Broome said.
“There is no
specific treatment for these infections. The best way to avoid infection is to
avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
take the following steps to avoid mosquito bites:
- insect-proof houses by
screening all doors and windows
- use flyscreens or sleep
under mosquito nets when camping
- avoid being outside at dawn
and dusk when mozzies are most active
- wear light-coloured,
loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear outdoors
- choose repellents with Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin and reapply regularly
- avoid using repellents on infants under three months
of age and instead use netting
to cover prams
- use plug-in vapouriser mats around the home and spray
in any dark areas or behind
- eliminate backyard breeding
habitats by emptying pot plant drip trays.
The NSW Health
factsheet is available at: health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/mosquito-bite-avoidance.aspx
For more information, please refer to NSW Health’s
Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome's interview