By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Queensland Health is reporting a 75 percent decrease in Ross River virus cases to date across the state; however, officials remind the public there’s still a couple of months to go heading into peak season.

Last year, there were 3,407 cases of Ross River virus recorded across the state. This year, there’s been 753 cases to date. At the same time last year, there was already 3,273 cases.

In 2018 and 2019, there were 1,739 and 1,649 cases recorded respectively annually.

“During 2020, there was an atypical late season outbreak of Ross River virus starting in March with the highest numbers of cases in April and May,” Professor McNeil said.

“The reasons for the fluctuating rates of Ross River virus in Queensland over the last two years is complex, but is understood to be influenced by environmental factors such as rainfall – with restrictions during the pandemic also potentially playing a role due to more people enjoying the great outdoors locally in 2020.

“We also know that we generally see an increase in Ross River virus every four years or so – and 2020 was right on target.

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“Typically, Ross River virus cases begin to rise with the onset of rain and warm temperatures in December before peaking in February and March. Cases often occur following above average rainfall or king tides.

“Especially with recent rain, people need to be vigilant and protect themselves against mosquito bites,” officials note.

The symptoms of Ross River fever include fever, chills, headache, aches and pains which typically begin within three weeks of being bitten.

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Tiredness and sore and swollen joints can also occur. A rash may appear for the first 7 – 10 days of illness in some people.

Symptoms can subside after a few weeks but some people may experience them for weeks or even months. People should see their doctor if they experience these symptoms.

People can reduce their risk of getting Ross River fever by avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes. Steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:

  • When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear
  • Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin
  • Take special care during peak mosquito biting hours, especially around dawn and dusk
  • Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen windows and doors
  • Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective
  • When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.

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