Mozzies put dis­ease bite on ton of lo­cals

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SHERELE MOODY

MOS­QUI­TOES have in­fected 100 Townsville res­i­dents with dis­eases this year.

Anal­y­sis of Queens­land health data shows 77 peo­ple liv­ing in the Townsville health district have been di­ag­nosed with Ross River virus in the past seven months.

This is about half the to­tal in­fec­tions last year, when there were 145 notifications.

There have also been four cases of malaria, five of dengue fever and 14 of the Barmah For­est virus, all of which are spread by mos­qui­toes.

Across Queens­land, there have been 1830 mozzie- borne virus in­fec­tions re­ported in the past six months, com­pared to 2462 for the whole of 2016.

Townsville City Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Health and En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee chair­woman Cr Ann- Ma­ree Gre­aney said the city ran ma­jor mozzie con­trol pro­grams aimed at re­duc­ing dis­ease out­breaks.

“The coun­cil con­ducts broad- acre aerial treat­ments and reg­u­lar ground treat­ments on tidal and flood- prone ar­eas across the city through­out the year to man­age Ross River fever and those mea­sures are in­creased in in­ten­sity dur­ing the wet sea­son,” she said.

“Dengue fever … is also a big tar­get. The coun­cil runs a high- pro­file dengue aware­ness cam­paign and works closely with Queens­land Trop­i­cal Pub­lic Health in re­spond­ing to any cases.

“Coun­cil’s sup­port with the Elim­i­nate Dengue cam­paign in the com­mu­nity has kept num­bers right down.”

Ross River virus is Aus­tralia’s main mos­quito- borne virus.

There is no vac­cine and it costs the Aus­tralian econ­omy more than $ 20 mil­lion a year to de­tect. The main treat­ment for the dis­ease is anti- in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions.

Virol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor John Aaskov said in­fec­tion rates could rise across our re­gion.

Prof Aaskov said trans­mis­sion of the dis­ease in our re­gion was most likely hu­man-mos­quito- hu­man rather than an­i­mal- mos­quito- hu­man.

“At the mo­ment, the only way to stop the dis­ease is to cover your­self up and some of the sun­screens have mos­quito re­pel­lents in them,” he said.

“A pair of thongs, stub­bies and a sin­glet are not go­ing to pro­tect you from mos­qui­toes.

“Re­ally, all we can do is avoid get­ting mos­quito bites.”

Queens­land Health urged those with symp­toms to ask their doc­tor for a blood test.

“Man­age­ment of the ill­ness gen­er­ally in­volves treat­ment of the symp­toms and most peo­ple re­cover with­out last­ing ef­fects,” a spokesman said.

“Your doc­tor will ad­vise on treat­ment for joint and mus­cle pains. If di­ag­nosed with a mos­quito- borne dis­ease such as Ross River fever, it is also im­por­tant to pre­vent be­ing bit­ten by mos­qui­toes so your ill­ness is not passed on to some­one else.”

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