Mosquito alert for region
Pilbara residents are being warned to take precautions against mosquito and march fly bites after the heavy rains of the last few weeks.
The Department of Health has warned of a possible increase in rates of mosquito-borne diseases Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Murray Valley encephalitis virus and Kunjin virus after the recent wet weather in much of WA, including the Pilbara.
Kunjin virus was recently detected in a sentinel chicken flock in the region and an increase in march fly numbers has also been reported.
DoH managing scientist of environmental health hazards Michael Lindsay said that had created ideal conditions for mosquitoes and other biting insects.
“There are no specific cures or vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases in WA, so it is very important that people take care to prevent being bitten,” he said.
Dr Lindsay said for most people the diseases’ symptoms were “fairly mild” headache, fever, fatigue, aching, swollen joints and skin rash but in rare cases some could cause inflammation of the brain and lead to long-term disability or death.
DoH advised people to avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, wear protective clothing, use insect repellent and drain or monitoring sources of stagnant water.
For more information -go to healthywa.wa.gov.au/fightthebite.
Sue Duley and Leah Richardson are taking precautions against an increase in mosquito and march fly numbers in the Pilbara.