MANY areas in Queensland are currently experiencing an increase in mosquitoes.
Heavy rainfall in late March has resulted in populations of mosquitos in several parts of the state that could be carrying mosquito-borne viruses.
The Department of Health is reminding residents and holiday-makers that prevention is the best way to avoid mosquito bites this Easter.
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“As people often get outdoors over the Easter break, it is especially important to cover up and take precautions against mosquito bites when camping, fishing or doing other outdoor activities,” Senior Director Communicable Diseases Unit Dr Sonya Bennett said.
“People should ensure screens are in good condition, use plug-in mosquito repellent devices where appropriate and avoid outdoor activity between dusk and dawn.”
Dr Bennett also recommended using a suitable insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin.
“You should always apply insect repellent according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and wear loose-fitting long sleeved clothing to avoid bites,” she said.
Dr Bennett said many people used the extended break as an opportunity to clean up around the house.
“Mosquitos breed around your house and yard so make sure you empty water from containers and store undercover, or throw out any rubbish lying around that can hold water.”
The numbers of both Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus this year across Queensland remained below the five year means.
“There have been 459 cases of Ross River Virus to date this year and 256 cases of Barmah Forest Virus,” Dr Bennett said.
“The Metro North region has reported 23 cases of Ross River Virus (RRV) year to date which is above average and nine of these cases have been reported in the last month.
“Barmah Forest Virus (BFV) notifications year to date are also above average for the region with 16 cases reported.”
Symptoms of RRV and BFV infections can include painful and swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue and headaches, which can last from weeks to months.
“It’s best to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitos this Easter. Protect yourself with clothing and repellent, avoid being outside at dawn and dusk and screen living and sleeping areas.”