NT Health urges people to protect themselves from mosquito bites during the months between December and March, the high risk months for Ross River Virus Disease (RRV).
Medical entomology director Nina Kurucz said while cases of Ross River virus disease so far this season have been low, cases are expected to rise in the next few months due to high humidity and the extension of the lifespan of mosquitoes .
“While salt marsh mosquitoes usually trigger the start of the Ross River virus season, the frequently banded mosquitoes are the main vector, with the number of these species increasing after the first monsoon rains. Some mosquitoes that breed in pots in urban areas can also transmit Ross River virus, ”said Ms. Kurucz.
Ross River virus is a debilitating disease with symptoms such as swollen and painful joints and muscles, red rash, fever, fatigue, and swollen glands. While symptoms usually go away within a few weeks, some people experience symptoms for months. Contact your doctor if you are concerned about persistent symptoms. Since there is no vaccine, personal protection from mosquito bites is your best defense.
In order not to be bitten, it is recommended:
- Avoid places with high mosquito activity, especially after sunset
- Use mosquito-proof accommodations and camping facilities at night
- Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and socks, especially between dusk and dawn in areas where mosquitos are likely to bite
- Use a protective agent with 20% DEET or picaridin or an extract of lemon eucalyptus (PMD) at a concentration of at least 30% as a supplement to protective clothing, with creams providing the best protection
- Use mosquito coils, mosquito lanterns, and barrier sprays on patios and outside areas near homes
- Tip out any water containers in the yard, or store containers upside down or under cover to prevent mosquitos from developing
- Make sure that children and animals are adequately protected from mosquito bites.
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