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Mosquito season is again upon the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, and residents are reminded to adopt precautions against bites to avoid the risk of contract viruses borne by the insects.
Simple strategies advised by Department of Health’s ‘Fight the Bite’ include:
Cover up: wear long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing, covering as much of the body as you can. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothes like jeans. Make sure children are also appropriately covered up
Repel: Use insect repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) or picardin and always follow instructions on the label
Clean up: stop mosquitoes breeding in water pooling around your home or holiday accommodation by emptying water from containers
Shire Environmental Health Officer Jacinta McKinlay said the Shire is a relative low-risk area for mosquito-borne viruses but there are pockets around the region where mosquito activity are relatively high.
“The Shire participates in mosquito monitoring program which aims to identify major breeding sites, and potential virus risk areas,” she said.
“Program activities includes investigating public reports of mosquitoes, trapping of adult mosquitoes, dipping for mosquito larvae, and identification of mosquito species.
“To date we have high numbers of mosquitoes at some sites around Augusta, with East Augusta recording the highest number of adults and larvae of all of the monitoring sites.
“The dominant species trapped here was Aedes camptorhynchus, which is commonly found it coastal areas as well as tidal salt marshes, and is a significant vector of Ross River Virus in the south west.
“Higher numbers were also recorded near Molloy Island and parts of Augusta.”
Ms McKinlay said despite the high mosquito activity in these locations, official notifications for mosquito-borne viruses via health system processes remain very low.
“We think the explanation for this at present is there is adequate distance from the bigger breeding sites to built-up residential areas,” she said.
Ms McKinlay further reports low numbers of a nuisance species (not related to virus activity) have been found in Cowaramup and low numbers of a container breeder species was found around Margaret River.
“We are learning more and more about the activities of mosquitoes in our Shire with the more data we collect with particular interest given to the effects of climate change on mosquito breeding is of interest to the Shire,” she said.
Mosquito season is generally known to run from October to March, depending on weather patterns.
“Now is a timely reminder for all residents to be vigilant and avoid being bitten and avoid providing contributing to breeding sites around the home,” Ms McKinlay said.
For more information refer to https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Healthy-living/Prevent-mosquito-bites
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Margaret River WA 6285
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