Mosquito-borne Disease Risk

Published on Wednesday, 17 February 2021 at 2:47:01 PM

The City of Busselton, on advice from the Department of Health, is reminding people to be vigilant against mosquito bites and potential mosquito-borne illness in the wake of recent heavy rainfall.

Tidal storm surges and flooding associated with heavy rains often produce extensive breeding habitat for mosquitoes. The standing water that remains after tidal and flood waters subside can create an ideal environment for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

Acting Medical Entomologist at the Department of Health, Dr Jay Nicholson, said that mosquito numbers and notified cases of Ross River virus (RRV) disease were already above average prior to the recent rainfall.

City of Busselton Manager of Environmental Services Tanya Gillett said that while water pools in the Southwest do not appear to have been impacted too severely in response to February downfalls, it is still important to take precaution against mosquito bites.

“City of Busselton Environmental Health Officers are monitoring residual water pools and water levels around Tobys Inlet and undertaking larvicide treatment as a precaution where required. Monitoring will continue throughout the South West to assess adult mosquito numbers and species to determine whether breading has increased in response to recent rainfall. 

While the South West has not been impacted by severe flooding, mosquito breeding can occur in small or backyard water sources. People should protect themselves against mosquito bites by applying a repellent, wearing long loose fitting clothing or avoiding outdoor exposure at dusk and dawn when in mosquito prone areas. Mosquito-borne virus like RRV can last for weeks to months and include painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rash, fever, fatigue and headaches. The only way to diagnose the disease is by visiting your doctor and having a specific blood test. There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for RRV disease.”

Media enquiries can be directed to the City’s Public Relations Coordinator, Meredith Dixon on 97810446 or meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au

Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with Key Goal Area 3 in the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (Review 2019): Our environment is valued, conserved and enjoyed.

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

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