First case sparks mos­quito warn­ing

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

Health author­i­ties have is­sued a warn­ing to peo­ple across the South West af­ter the sea­son’s first case of Ross River Virus was re­ported in Leschenault on Thurs­day.

The di­ag­no­sis came just days af­ter the WA Depart­ment of Health is­sued a warn­ing for peo­ple to take pre­cau­tions such as us­ing mos­quito re­pel­lent af­ter mos­quito pop­u­la­tions in Leschenault and Dawesville tested pos­i­tive to the virus dur­ing rou­tine mon­i­tor­ing.

Shire of Har­vey se­nior en­vi­ron­men­tal health of­fi­cer Hayden Jones said shire staff were now in­ves­ti­gat­ing where the per­son may have con­tracted the virus.

“As with all mos­quito-borne no­ti­fi­able dis­eases, shire staff are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion where the virus could have been con­tracted,” Mr Jones said.

“We in­ves­ti­gate all cases of Ross River virus and Barmah For­est virus.”

Mr Jones said shire staff car­ried out mos­quito con­trol spray­ing from Au­gust to May and while the late rains this year had in­creased mos­quito num­bers in Oc­to­ber, num­bers were now steady.

High tides flush­ing through known breed­ing sites had kept mos­quito num­bers steady, but peo­ple should still take pre­cau­tions.

“That can change with weather sys­tems and tide lev­els quite quickly,” Mr Jones said.

“Peo­ple need to take pre­cau­tions like us­ing re­pel­lent now that we know the virus is ac­tive out there.”

Health depart­ment med­i­cal en­to­mol­o­gist Dr Peter Neville said cases of the virus so far were be­low av­er­age, but there was a risk of peo­ple be­ing ex­posed in the com­ing weeks as the weather warms up and peo­ple be­gin vis­it­ing the re­gion for the hol­i­day pe­riod.

“Mos­quito man­age­ment is be­ing un­der­taken by lo­cal gov­ern­ment author­i­ties in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Depart­ment of Health,” he said.

“How­ever, it is not re­al­is­tic to rely on mos­quito man­age­ment pro­grams alone to con­trol mos­qui­toes.

“In­di­vid­u­als liv­ing in or trav­el­ling to the re­gion also need to take their own pre­cau­tions to avoid mos­quito bites.”

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