Mildura Rural City Council will increase surveillance and treatment of mosquito breeding sites after Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) was detected in a sentinel chicken flock near Waikerie in South Australia.
MVE is transmitted by a mosquito bite by an infected mosquito. Mildura residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect themselves and their family from being bitten by mosquitos.
MVE is not spread from person to person.
While many people who contract MVE show no symptoms, for those who do, it can take between five and 28 days from being bitten to becoming sick.
MVE symptoms can include:
- high fever
- nausea and vomiting
- severe headache
- seizure or fits (especially in young children)
- neck stiffness
In severe cases, MVE can cause swelling of the brain tissue, which can lead to brain damage, or more serious cases, death.
Councillor for Community Safety Gavin Sedgmen said there were several ways people could protect against mozzie bites.
“Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active, usually before dawn and around sunset,” he said.
“It’s also advised that people wear loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves, long trousers and socks, as mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes.
“Make sure flywire screens in houses or caravans don’t have holes in them, and when camping, sleep in a mosquito-proof tent or under a mosquito net.”
The use of mosquito repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed areas of skin, lotions and gels is also advised.
Residents are also being urged to eliminate potential breeding sites from their homes to further combat the potential spread of the disease.
This includes removing stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.