Mosquito season is here, so take care and “fight the bite”

The 2017 mosquito season has started, and government authorities have released information on how to keep yourself safe and healthy this spring and summer.

Over at SA Health there is the “Fight the Bite” campaign, with advice on how to recognise the symptoms of the two most popular mosquito-borne diseases: Ross River virus, and Barmah Forest virus.

If you exhibit symptoms such as a rash, joint and muscle pain, swelling, stiffness, fever, chills, headache, tiredness/weakness, and/or a general feeling of being unwell after being bitten by a mosquito, you are advised to seek medical attention immediately. 

Less common mosquito-borne diseases are Murray Valley encephalitis and the Kunjin virus, however it should be noted that these diseases can be fatal. 

Murray Valley encephalitis is characterised by symptoms such as fever, drowsiness (excessive sleepiness), confusion, headache, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and/or seizures (fits). In infants, symptoms may take the form of irritability, and ‘floppiness’ of the body.

The Kunjin virus infects the victim with fever, unwellness, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, rash, and swollen and aching joints.

As with Ross River and Barmah Forest, if you suspect that you have been infected by the aforementioned viruses, please seek urgent medical attention.

To prevent mosquito bites, SA Health has recommended wearing loose fitting, long, light coloured clothing; using insect repellent which contains DEET (diethyl toluamide) or picaridin; and to take measures to avoid mosquitos breeding in water around your home and/or business. 

Naracoorte Lucindale Council is prepared to step in and play a role if required in mosquito season.

Manager of planning and compliance Paul McRostie said that the council has undertaken spraying for mosquitoes in recent years, with the most recent spray being last spring as the weather started to heat up.

“The seasons are obviously dependent on the last two years of rainfall, with higher rainfalls seeing mosquitoes become more prevalent within the NLC (Naracoorte Lucindale Council) area.

“However, council have received nil complaints this season, with only a handful last year.”

Regarding physical spaces which need spraying, there are apparently no new specific areas for concern.

When asked about the requirements for more spraying, Mr McRostie said: “Council will spray if the conditions are right to undertake the activity, and there is a demand from the public. Council doesn’t have the authority to undertake areas such as lakes, or other large bodies of water. Council only controls areas that are owned and managed by the Naracoorte Lucindale Council.”

More information on how to protect yourself this season can be found here: http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/healthy+living/protecting+your+health/yourself/fight+the+bite.