The Balonne Shire Council is warning residents and travellers in the St George region to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites following the detection of the mosquito-borne diseases Barmah Forest virus (BFV) and Ross River virus (RRV). No human cases of BFV or RRV have been reported this year but the virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the local area through the surveillance program carried out for the Balonne Shire Council and the Mosquito-borne Disease Prevention and Control Program Communicable Diseases Branch.
Barmah Forest virus
Barmah Forest virus is not fatal and all people who develop the disease do recover. BFV causes inflammation and joint pain and has similar symptoms to Ross River virus infection. The symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, painful joints, joint swelling, muscle tenderness and skin rashes.
The virus is passed to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be passed directly between humans.
Ross River virus
Ross River virus is not fatal and all people who develop the disease do recover, however the time taken to recover fully is prolonged in some people. The symptoms may include fever with joint pain and swelling which may then be followed in one to ten days by a raised red rash affecting mainly the trunk and limbs.
Ross River virus infection cannot be spread form human to human.
The only effective protection is to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites by taking a few simple steps when camping, fishing or undertaking other outdoor activities:
- avoid outdoor exposure around dawn and early evening
- wear protective (long, loose-fitting, light-coloured) clothing when outdoors
- apply a personal repellent containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to exposed skin or clothing. The most effective and long-lasting formulations are lotions or gels. Natural or organic repellents are generally not as effective as DEET or picaridin so they need to be reapplied more frequently
- use mosquito coils and mosquito lanterns and apply barrier sprays containing bifenthrin in patio and outdoor areas around houses
- ensure insect screens are installed and in good condition on houses and caravans
- use mosquito nets and mosquito-proof tents when camping
- ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening.
For further information please refer to the below websites: