Mozzies put disease bite on ton of locals
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.”