Residents of the northern NT coast are reminded to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The number of mosquitoes in salt marshes is likely to increase dramatically from October 16 after heavy rainfall.
The head of the final medical service for medical entomology, Nina Kurucz, pointed out that heavy rainfall and flooding in coastal areas will trigger extensive mosquito breeding until the monsoon rains flood their breeding grounds.
The Medical Entomology team conducted ground mosquito control in the Darwin and Palmerston area, treating large areas of mosquito breeding sites from the air in the Shoal Bay swamp system on October 10, 2020.
“Despite the control efforts, there will be an influx of mosquitoes from outside the control area as these mosquitoes can spread up to 50 km,” said Ms. Kurucz.
“We assume that the number of mosquitoes will remain high for at least two weeks due to the high humidity. Additional mosquito hatches will be triggered by additional rain or the next floods in mid-October.”
Salt marsh mosquitoes can transmit the Ross River virus. While the high-risk period for the virus runs from December to March, the disease can be transmitted year-round.
To minimize the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes, people should:
- Wear light-colored protective clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and ankle protection with socks in areas where mosquito bites are likely.
- Avoid outdoor exposure near wetlands and areas of thick vegetation, as well as other areas with high mosquito activity.
- Use a repellent containing 20% DEET, Picaridin, or PMD (Lemon Eucalyptus Extract) and other mosquito repellent devices as a complement to protective clothing outdoors in areas of mosquito activity.
- Make sure infants and children are adequately protected from mosquito bites.
- Dump water-filled containers in backyards, including buckets, drip trays, and tires.
- Consider treating bifenthrin insecticide barriers by licensed pest control companies for use in residential areas.
- Make sure windows and doors have screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes.
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