Ross River Virus Detected in the South West

Published on 17 September 2020

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The City of Busselton confirms detection of Ross River Virus in adult mosquitoes recently collected in the South West and Busselton region.

 

The detections were picked-up in routine sampling of mosquitos collected from Siesta Park. However, the risk extends across the municipality particularly in areas close to wetlands.

 

Detections this early in the year are quite unusual. Officials at the Department of Health have indicated that the early activity is likely to be the result of recent high tides and rainfall, coupled with above average temperatures, favouring mosquito breeding.

 

Environmental Health Coordinator at the City of Busselton Jane Cook said: “Mosquito and mosquito-borne virus activity is not usually detected this early in spring. We want local people and visitors to the region to be aware that the risk of Ross River Virus is already present and to take extra precautions when outdoors.”


The City of Busselton mosquito management program is in full swing with Environmental Health Officers from the City of Busselton regularly monitoring numbers of adult mosquitos and larvae in wetland areas.

 

“Once numbers reach significant levels a helicopter will be used to treat wetland areas. The aim is to reduce the number of mosquitoes present in the environment by targeting the larvae before they emerge into adults,” Ms Cook said.

 

“The first aerial helicopter treatment took place in August 2020 with more treatments planned for the season. However, people must not assume that because a mosquito management program is in place, there will be no mosquitoes this spring and summer. We urge everyone to ‘Fight the Bite’ and take precautions to prevent being bitten.”

 

Some of the ways to minimise the risk of mosquito bite include: avoiding outdoor exposure particularly at dawn and dusk and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing when outdoors. People are also encouraged to apply personal repellent to exposed areas of the skin. Effective personal repellents contain diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin.

 

For more information on mosquito management and tips on how to prevent mosquito bites both at home and travelling visit

https://www.busselton.wa.gov.au/Environment-Waste/Environmental-Health/Mosquito-Control or https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/fightthebite

 

Photo: Jane Cook from the City of Busselton undertaking Mosquito monitoring duties in wetland areas near Ford Road.

 

Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with Key Goal Area 1 in the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (Review 2019): Community that is welcoming friendly and healthy.

 

Ends. Media enquiries can be directed to meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au