Fever cases rise

271 res­i­dents treated for Ross River strain dur­ing 2006

Townsville Bulletin - - Talk Of North - By SELINA SHAR­RATT

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.

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