Pre­ven­tion is key to Fight the Bite

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - City of Kar­ratha

Res­i­dents in the Pil­bara are be­ing en­cour­aged to “Fight the Bite” as part of a cam­paign to pre­vent peo­ple from be­ing bit­ten by mos­qui­toes and to re­duce the in­ci­dence of mos­quito-borne dis­ease in the com­ing weeks and sum­mer months.

While many parts of WA en­joyed be­low-av­er­age num­bers of mos­qui­toes last sum­mer, higher mos­quito num­bers are ex­pected to re­turn this year.

The Depart­ment of Health’s Fight the Bite cam­paign en­cour­ages in­di­vid­u­als to pro­tect them­selves and their fam­i­lies from mos­qui­toes in three ways — cov­er­ing up in long, loose-fit­ting cloth­ing, ap­ply­ing a per­sonal re­pel­lent con­tain­ing DEET or pi­caridin, and clean­ing up around the home to re­move sources of stag­nant wa­ter in which mos­qui­toes can breed.

Depart­ment of Health man­ag­ing sci­en­tist of en­vi­ron­men­tal health haz­ards Dr Mike Lind­say said an av­er­age of 1000 peo­ple were in­fected with a mos­quito-borne dis­ease each year in WA. “Mos­qui­toes in WA can trans­mit Ross River virus and Barmah For­est virus. In the north­ern re­gions of WA, the rarer, but more se­vere Kun­jin and Mur­ray Valley en­cephali­tis viruses can also be trans­mit­ted by mos­qui­toes,” he said. “As there is no vac­cine or spe­cific cure for these dis­eases, the best way to avoid in­fec­tion is to pre­vent be­ing bit­ten by mos­qui­toes.”

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 di­ag­nose in­fec­tion is through a blood test. Any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these symp­toms should visit their GP.

Fight the Bite has been de­vel­oped in re­sponse to re­search con­ducted by WA Health which re­vealed that while peo­ple are com­monly bit­ten around their home, there is a gen­eral lack of aware­ness of the risks as­so­ci­ated with mos­qui­toes and sim­ple ways to pro­tect them­selves.

The fol­low­ing mea­sures are ad­vised:

Avoid out­door ex­po­sure par­tic­u­larly at dawn and dusk when mos­qui­toes are most ac­tive.

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

Ap­ply a per­sonal re­pel­lent con­tain­ing 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.

Visit healthywa.wa.gov.au/healthy-liv­ing/pre­vent­mosquito-bites or con­tact the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health sec­tion at the City of Kar­ratha on 9186 8555.

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Some mos­qui­toes carry se­ri­ous dis­eases.

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