A Belmont mother weakened by the Ross River virus asks others to protect themselves after contracting the mosquito-borne disease locally.
Angela Onyschko was diagnosed with the virus on Monday after suffering severe joint pain for several weeks.
Ms. Onyschko, 42, said she was bitten by a mosquito at her Belmont home last month and developed joint pain about a week later.
She said she believed she acquired the virus locally as she had not left the region recently while conditions were ripe for mosquito breeding.
“I walk like a 90-year-old,” said Ms. Onyschko.
“You can’t function.”
Ms. Onyschko said she had “the worst joint pain imaginable”.
“It’s extreme pain and swelling. If I could describe it in one word it would be debilitating,” she said.
She said she believed the mosquito that infected her could have come from a stream near her home.
Angela Onyschko has just been diagnosed with the Ross River virus. Image: Glenn Ferguson
Her diagnosis comes after Victorian assistant health chief Annaliese van Diemen warned of mosquito-borne diseases late last month.
Dr. van Diemen said the Ross River virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the Gippsland Lakes region while recent weather conditions have been favorable for mosquitoes to bite and breed.
Barwon Health and Ms. Onyschko have urged Geelong locals to provide shelter in ideal conditions.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a single case of Ross River virus infection has been recorded for Greater Geelong this year and a total of four cases in the community in 2019.
A decline came after a surge in cases in 2017, when 66 cases were recorded in Greater Geelong and 93 cases on the Surf Coast.
Eugene Athan, director of the Infectious Diseases Division at Barwon Health, said the case case, combined with warm weather as seen in 2017, creates ideal conditions for mosquito breeding and population fluctuations.
The Surf Coast Shire last week warned of rising mosquito numbers after wet, mild winter and spring weather.
Prof. Athan said any parts of Victoria that were mosquitos could be at risk for Ross River virus infection, although the risk is greater in rural and regional Victoria.
“Ross River virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease and can cause joints
Swelling and pain, fatigue and muscle pain, “said Prof. Athan.
“A rash and fever can also develop, and symptoms can last for months.
“People should limit outdoor activities when there are many mosquitoes around, wear light-colored clothing,
Use loose-fitting clothing and effective mosquito repellants that contain DEET or picaridin. ”
Prof. Athan said if someone has symptoms or concerns they should see their family doctor for a blood test.
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Originally published as “I Walk Like a 90 Year Old”: Geelong Mama’s Virus Alert