NSW Health has issued a health warning, urging people to safeguard themselves from mosquitoes, especially during the summer, to avoid exposure to the viruses they may carry.
Paul Byleveld, Acting Director of Environmental Health at NSW Health, emphasises the primary defence is to avoid getting bitten.
He adds that mosquitoes in NSW can carry various viruses, including Japanese encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis, Kunjin, Ross River, and Barmah Forest, which may lead to serious diseases with symptoms ranging from fatigue and rashes to headaches and joint inflammation.
Given the detection of Japanese encephalitis in a sentinel chicken in Far Western NSW, extra precautions are advised.
Ross River virus
Queenslanders are also grappling with a surge in mosquito numbers due to continuous wet weather, prompting medical experts to warn about the potential spread of mosquito-borne diseases, particularly the Ross River virus.
Speaking to ABC, The director of Tropical Public Health Services Cairns, Richard Gair, says the mosquito-borne “disease we're most likely to see an increase in is Ross River."
"With a lot of mosquitoes, obviously the risk of virus transmission is there, and so we recommend everybody take precautions to avoid being bitten,” he says.
How to get rid of mosquitoes
To minimise mosquitoes around your home, it's crucial to monitor and replace any stagnant water. Since mosquitoes require standing water for their lifecycle, eliminating breeding grounds is an effective preventive measure.
Plants that repel mosquitoes can also be a great way to keep these bugs at bay.
How to avoid mosquito bites
While it’s true that mosquitoes bite some people more than others, everyone should take the following information on board to avoid mosquito bites.
Applying repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin, covering up during peak mosquito times (dawn and dusk), and using insecticide sprays and mosquito coils outdoors are recommended precautions.
Additionally, installing insect screens on windows and doors, removing water-collecting items like old tires and empty pots, and following proper application order when using mosquito repellent and sunscreen simultaneously contribute to a comprehensive strategy against mosquito-borne diseases.