The WA Country Health Service Wheatbelt Public Health Unit is urging all residents and visitors in the Wheatbelt to take extra care to avoid mosquito bites following an increase in the number of Ross River virus (RRV) infections in the region.
WACHS Wheatbelt public health physician Naru Pal said a total of 37 cases were notified so far this year compared to 31 cases at the same time last year.
“The illnesses caused by Ross River viruses include painful joints, aching muscles, lethargy, fever, headache and skin rashes, and symptoms may last from weeks to months,” Dr Pal said.
“People experiencing such symptoms should seek medical attention from their GP or their local hospital”.
“There are no specific cures or vaccines for this mosquito-borne disease so it is very important that people take care to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes”.
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 or contact the Wheatbelt Public Health Unit on 9622 4320.