By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Health officials with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) have issued a health alert this week over an increase in Ross River fever cases in the southern Riverina in New South Wales.

Image/onestopmap via pixabay

According to MLHD, there have been 18 cases notified from  1 – 22 January. There were less than five notified cases in the same period in 2020.

There have been no arbovirus detections in sentinel chickens, however Ross River was detected in mosquito trappings on 19th January in the Griffith area.

To date, mosquito numbers have been down on previous seasons.

However, residents and visitors in the area are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimise potential exposure to the virus.

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

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.