Fever cases rise
271 residents treated for Ross River strain during 2006
A MASSIVE 271 infections of the debilitating Ross River fever were reported in Townsville for 2006.
Most other serious mosquito related viruses including Barmah Forest virus and Dengue fever have dropped since 2004.
Ross River Fever however continues to spread despite Queensland Health efforts to lower the amount of people infected.
Townsville, Innisfail and Bowen all reported steep increases in Ross River fever cases this year.
In March a massive 114 people were infected with the disease in Townsville.
According to the State’s latest regional data on notifiable conditions, from January to August 2004, 76 patients were infected with Ross River fever.
That figure climbed to 138(12 months period) instances in 2005, but escalated to 271 cases this year.
Barmah Forest disease, a similar disease carried both in mosquitoes and humans, also affected a large number of Townsville residents.
From January to August 2004, Barmah Forest was found in 40 people.
By the end of 2005, 144 people were infected, followed by 114 cases in 2006.
The number of dengue fever cases declined from 2004 to 2006.
From January to August 2004, 48 cases were reported, followed by 35 in 2005 with just 11 cases in 2006.
The Division of General Practice’s Dr Kevin Arlett said Ross River, dengue and Barmah Forest viruses varied from being mild to severe.
He said dengue fever could have harmful effects if subsequent infections occurred.
‘‘Dengue fever can be fatal in some situations,’’ Dr Arlett said.
Ross River fever or Barmah Forest virus are not fatal.
Dr Arlett said the three mosquito viruses were in the same ‘class’ and had similar symptoms.
He said symptoms may include fever, tiredness, painful joints, joint swelling, muscle tenderness, skin rash, headache and tiredness.
Dr Arlett encouraged residents to be vigilant in keeping breeding sites around their homes to a minimum by emptying any water lying around the house.
The Townsville City Council has attacked mosquito breeding grounds with ground and air sprays eight times this year.
A nine-month dengue outbreak was declared over last December, after 18people contracted the disease.
An epidemic in 2003-04 struck down 58people.
The Thuringowa City Council has also taken a tough stance on eradicating mosquito breeding sites with regular sprays throughout the year.
Aerial mosquito control will start in the Northern Beaches area during January.
Thuringowa City Council environmental health officer, Tony Chandler said aircraft would treat mosquito breeding sites during the highest tides from January through to March.