Ross River Virus and poisonous blue-green algae found in Victoria and New South Wales areas

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Travelers traveling through the Victoria and New South Wales regions during the Christmas season are warned to look out for evidence of the Ross River virus and blue-green algae for increased mosquito numbers and algal blooms.

Important points:

  • Ross River virus has been detected in three central Victorian LGAs
  • A red alert for blue-green algae was issued for the Hume Dam near Albury-Wodonga
  • Weather conditions over the Christmas period are expected to lead to an increase in mosquito numbers

The Ross River virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Moira Shire, Campaspe Shire and the Greater Shepparton City Council in Central Victoria.

The Victorian Department of Health warns that weather conditions will be favorable to mosquito bites and breeding in the coming week, as increased travel over the Christmas season exposes more people to infection.

A very high mosquito count is forecast along parts of the Murray River from Gunbower to Yarrawonga.

Long, loose clothing and mosquito repellants are recommended for anyone who spends long periods of time outdoors.

It takes about three to nine days for symptoms of Ross River Virus disease to develop after exposure, and occasionally up to 21 days.

Anyone with joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash, and fatigue are encouraged to seek medical treatment.

The Ross River Virus is endemic to Victoria, with coastal and regional areas at greater risk. (Delivered: CSIRO)

Red alert for Hume Dam

A red alert was issued for Hume Dam after algae tests discovered potentially toxic blue-green algae in the area.

People are advised not to engage in recreational activities or drink untreated water while a red warning is in effect.

Mussels and crabs caught in algal bloom-affected waters may also be affected and should not be eaten while the red alert is on.

Blue-green algae occur naturally and usually appear as green, color-like scum on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water.

Contact with blue-green algae can also pose a risk to farm animals and pets. People who think they have blue-green algae should see a doctor.

WaterNSW said regular monitoring would continue and the warning would be lifted once tests confirmed the bloom had subsided.

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