Media releases

Residents of the South West are being reminded that following the unseasonal heavy rainfall of the past week there will be increased mosquito activity and a greater risk of mosquito-borne disease.

Residents are urged to be alert and to take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes which will be active adults in 7 to 14 days’ time.  

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River Coordinator of Environmental Health, Chris McAtee, said that while many parts of Western Australia had enjoyed below average numbers of mosquitoes this summer, higher mosquito numbers were expected to return following unseasonal rains.

“Recent substantial rainfall combined with increasing temperatures in the coming weeks are likely to favour increased breeding of mosquitoes,” Ms McAtee said. “Mosquitoes in Perth and the South West can transmit Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV),” she said. “Given there is no vaccine or specific cure for either disease, the best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites.”

Symptoms of RRV and BFV include painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue and headaches. Symptoms can last for weeks or months and the only way to properly diagnose the viruses is by having a specific blood test. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their GP. The Department of Health’s “Fight the Bite” campaign encourages individuals to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes by adopting the following simple measures:

avoid outdoor exposure particularly around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

wear protective (long, loose-fitting, light coloured) clothing when outdoors

apply a personal repellent containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to exposed skin

empty or cover any standing water around the home or holiday accommodation to reduce mosquito breeding

ensure insect screens are installed and remain in good condition

use mosquito nets or mosquito-proof tents when camping or sleeping outdoors

ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening.

For more information on ‘Fight the Bite’ and how to prevent mosquito bites visit:
http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Healthy-living/Prevent-mosquito-bites

ENDS

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