Arboviruses are diseases carried by mosquitoes and includes diseases such as Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings area has been identified as a NSW hot spot for these types of diseases.
Heavy rains means there is more chance of stagnant water providing breeding locations and the increase in the number of mosquitoes means there is more chance of being bitten. The primary danger period is during the warmer months when people tend to spend more time outside.
Ross River and Barmah Forest virus infections can cause major illness with symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints. These symptoms usually resolve after several days, but some people may experience these debilitating symptoms for weeks or even months.
People are advised to:
- apply mosquito repellent regularly (every four hours). It is recommended a repellent containing DEET or Picaridin be used and is most effective and long lasting in a lotion form;
- use an insecticide in sleeping areas, according to instructions;
- wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes with long sleeves and long trousers: mosquitoes are attracted to dark coloured clothes and can bite through tight clothes;
- ensure flyscreens on houses, caravans and annexes are in good order;
- ensure open containers of water are removed from around the home to prevent mosquitoes breeding;
- check your water tanks are screened with wire gauze no coarser than 1mm mesh to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the tank;
- when camping, take precautions such as using flyscreens on caravans and tents and by sleeping under mosquito nets;
- make sure your dinghy or boat is stored overturned with the bung removed;
- take particular care while fishing, ensuring that you follow personal precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes;
- control mosquitoes that enter your house or caravan with a 'knock-down' insecticide aerosol spray.
For a copy of the NSW Health fact sheet on Ross River Fever or Barmah Forest virus go to:
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/rossriver.html or http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/barmah_forest_virus.html
For a range of health information, go online to www.health.nsw.gov.au