Western Australia’s Department of Health is warning people to be aware of the danger posed by increased numbers of mosquitos, following a record breaking season on the country’s east coast.
Yesterday, NSW Health told the AAP that the number of reports for Ross River virus had reached 430 – a significant rise on the total at the same time last year, which was just 102.
Ross River virus is one of several diseases transmitted by mosquitos in Australia, with symptoms including fever, headaches, chills and stiffness in muscles and joint, which usually resolve of their own accord within a 10-day period. Some patients have reported experiencing symptoms for months after infection.
Severe weather along Australia’s east coast in the form of heavy flooding at the beginning of the season has created perfect conditions for a rise of mosquito numbers, with NSW Health Pathology senior scientist Stephen Doggett telling the Sydney Morning Herald that mosquitos have appeared in record numbers.
“Extraordinary numbers. And we’ve seen a massive increase in reports of Ross River Virus through the months of December and January,” he said.
“They were many, many times higher than our previous records and we’ve been doing this work since the late 80s.”
Doggett went on to say that the recent bout of warmer, drier weather has caused a drop off in mosquito numbers and associated illness.
WA may be about to experience the entire cycle of mosquito boom and bust for itself, with Perth metropolitan and regional residents advised that recent rainfall and flooding has created ideal conditions for the insects.
Anyone at increased risk of contracting a mosquito-born illness are advised to avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, wear loose-fitting clothing and to ensure infants and small children are especially protected.
To find out more about the efficacy of various insect-repellents and their active ingredients, read our article on the matter.