Avoid mosquitoes this holiday season 17.04.14

Released 17/04/2014

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly has urged ACT residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes following recent heavy rains and detections of mosquito-borne viruses in NSW.

"ACT Health is advising Canberrans to avoid exposure to mosquitoes over these Easter holidays as increasing numbers of mosquitoes carrying viruses have been detected in certain parts of NSW, particularly around bush areas in and around Sydney, as well as regional and rural NSW," Dr Kelly said.

"NSW is seeing ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes carrying Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Kunjin and Murray Valley Encephalitis.

"These infections can cause symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints.

"The symptoms of mosquito-borne disease may vary in severity from person to person but will generally last a few days, however some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months. Diseases like Murray Valley Encephalitis can cause severe disease leading to permanent brain damage or death," Dr Kelly said.

"As there is no specific treatment for these viruses, the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Simple steps to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
  • Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas.
  • For children under three months, use physical barriers such as netting on prams and cots, rather than repellent.
  • When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets.
  • Limit mosquito breeding areas by emptying outdoor containers that hold water

"If people become unwell with symptoms of a mosquito-borne virus they should see their GP," Dr Kelly concluded.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

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