Residents warned of Ross River and Barmah Forest Virus risk

Northern Beaches

Northern Beaches Council is advising residents to take extra precautions against mosquitos after Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus were detected in mosquitos trapped at Narrabeen Lagoon.

Council partners with NSW Health to trap mosquitoes at key locations on the Beaches, to monitor the numbers and types of mosquitoes present and determine if they are carrying viral infections. Traps are set at Warriewood Wetlands and Deep Creek near the Narrabeen Lagoon trail.

Higher than average rainfall due to La Niña has created the perfect conditions for mosquitos to multiply and have meant numbers are up on previous years. NSW Health has advised Council to continue trapping mosquitos past the usual trapping season based on mosquito numbers still being high and viruses continuing to be detected so late in the season.

Ross River virus is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause flu-like symptoms in some individuals, including fever, chills, headache, fatigue and aches and pains in the muscles and joints. Some joints can become swollen, and joint stiffness may be particularly noticeable in the morning. A rash can occur on the body, arms or legs. Symptoms usually develop about 7-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Barmah Forest Virus is spread by the bite of infected female mosquitoes. Many people who are infected will not develop symptoms; however, some people may have flu-like symptoms that include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, stiffness and pain, especially in the mornings. A rash may also develop or a feeling of tiredness or weakness.

Symptoms usually develop about 7-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There is currently no vaccine against Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus. However, you can protect yourself and your family from getting bitten by taking the following steps:

  • Always wear long, loose-fitting clothing to minimise skin exposure
  • Choose and apply a repellent that contains either Diethyl Toluamide (DEET), Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Be aware of peak mosquito times at dawn and dusk
  • Keep your yard free of standing water like containers, birdbaths, kids toys and pot plant trays where the mosquitos can breed.

Visit NSW Health for more tips on how to control mosquitoes around the home.

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