Ross River virus cases in Victoria are already more than double the average, prompting another warning from health authorities.
The state has had 448 cases of the mosquito-borne virus to February 25, according to Victoria’s Executive Director for Communicable Disease Dr Bruce Bolam.
The Health Department said there would be around 200 in a typical year, although it ballooned to 2,000 in 2017 after spring floods.
A fact sheet published by NSW Health says the virus is spread by certain types of female mosquitoes when they feed on humans or animals.
It also stated that the virus cannot be passed from human to human.
The report said that infections will usually peak during the summer and autumn months.
Female mosquitoes pass the virus on to animals and humans
Most of the cases this summer have been in the Surf Coast, Bellarine and East Gippsland areas.
Betterhealth.vic.gov.au said Ross River virus tends to occur throughout times that encourage mosquito breeding, that includes heavy rainfall, floods and temperature.
Similar conditions in 2017 resulted in a boom in cases.
The virus can cause symptoms including joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash and fatigue.
Health authorities warned late last year Ross River virus had been detected in regional areas.
The Victorian government recommended individuals: ‘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. Avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more active and likely to bite.’
Dr Bolam said the early summer conditions, especially in coastal areas, had helped mosquito breeding.
‘Everyone is encouraged to wear long, loose fitting clothes and use repellents containing picaridin or DEET on exposed skin,’ he said.
‘People should ensure that insect screens fitted to doors and windows around the home are in good condition.’
What is the Ross River virus?
- Joint pain – wrists, knees, ankles, fingers and toes are the most commonly affected joints
- Fatigue or lethargy
- muscle aches or pains
- rash on the trunk or limbs
- lymph node enlargement on the groin or armpit
- headaches or fever
Prevention of Ross River virus
- Wearing long, loose fitting, light colored clothing and using insect repellents that contain DEET or picaridin
- Avoiding mosquito prone areas especially at dusk and dawn
- Ensuring fly screens are properly fitted to windows and external doors
- Reducing the number of mosquito breeding habits around the house
Source: Better Health Channel Victoria
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News