Residents along the northern NT coast are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites, with mosquito numbers expected to increase following heavy rainfall and high tides associated with the monsoon.
The Director of Medical Entomology, Nina Kurucz, explained that “heavy rainfall or flooding associated with the monsoonal activity might create environmental conditions favourable for salt marsh and common banded mosquitoes to breed in high numbers.”
“We expect mosquito numbers to increase by Thursday 16 January 2020.”
Both mosquito species can transmit the Ross River virus (RRV), with the common banded mosquito also able to carry the potentially fatal Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus.
The high-risk period for RRV is December to March and for MVE January to June.
To minimise the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes people should:
- Wear protective light-coloured clothing with long sleeves, long trousers, and ankle protection with socks, in areas where mosquito bites are likely.
- Avoid outdoor exposure near wetlands and areas of dense vegetation as well as other areas of high mosquito activity.
- Use a protective repellent containing 20% DEET or picaridin and other mosquito protection devices as a supplement to protective clothing when outdoors in areas of mosquito activity.
- Ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites.
- Tip out water filled containers in backyards, including buckets, plant drip trays and tyres.
- Consider bifenthrin insecticide barrier treatments by pest control companies for use around residential grounds.
- Ensure windows and doors have screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering houses.