The ROSS River virus has been discovered in mosquitos in urban Mildura, and health officials are warning local residents and visitors to stay vigilant.
A health warning from the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services advised people of northwest Victoria to protect themselves from mosquito-borne viruses such as the Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus.
Annaliese van Diemen, assistant health director, also said doctors should consider the possibility of mosquito-borne disease in patients with compatible diseases.
Both viruses can cause symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash, and tiredness and can be diagnosed with a blood test.
Recent weather and water conditions in Mildura have had beneficial effects on mosquito biting and breeding, making the disease more likely to spread.
There is no vaccine to protect against Ross River virus, so preventing bites is crucial.
Control of mosquito-borne diseases
– Wear long, loose-fitting clothing when mosquitoes are around.
– Use effective mosquito repellants containing picaridin or DEET on any exposed skin.
– Try to limit outdoor activity when there are a lot of mosquitos around. In the hours before and after sunrise and sunset, most mosquitoes are more active, but some also bite in the middle of the day.
– Use knockdown sprays and plug-in vaporizers indoors.
– If there are no Flywire screens on windows or if you sleep in an untreated tent, sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
– Sleep under a mosquito net when camping outdoors.
– Mosquito coils can be effective in small outdoor protected areas.