22 Dec 2015
With increased numbers of salt marsh mosquitoes around, Top Enders are being urged to cover-up over the Festive Season.
Territory Director of Entomology Nina Kurucz said during the Wet Season salt marsh mosquitoes could live for almost twice as long as they do during the Dry Season, increasing their potential to carry the debilitating disease.
“Ross River is a virus Top Enders should not treat lightly. It’s a very unpleasant disease and has the potential to affect you for a long time,” Ms Kurucz said.
“If you get it you will suffer a range of symptoms including painful or swollen joints, particularly in the hands, ankles and knees, as well as fatigue and fever.”
People with the disease can also experience sore muscles, aching tendons, skin rash, headache and swollen lymph nodes are other signs of the illness.
Symptoms can last for a few weeks and in some cases up to a year.
“The best way to avoid Ross River Virus is to cover up at this time of year.”
On average there are about 250 cases of Ross River Virus recorded in the NT each year.
Ms Kurcucz said the current monsoonal conditions couples with December’s high tides meant mosquitoes that can carry the virus were expected to remain relatively for the remainder of the month.
“During the wet season mosquitoes live long enough to pick up the virus and transmit it to humans,” Ms Kurucz said.
Elevated numbers of salt marsh mosquitoes and common banded mosquitoes can be expected within 5 km of their breeding grounds, including salt marsh areas, upper mangrove areas and seasonal wetlands.
To avoid mosquito borne disease, residents are urged to cover up, use insect repellents and avoid being outdoors in wetland areas or places where mosquitoes are active, especially after sundown.
Water filled containers in backyards, including buckets, plant drip trays and tyres also breed mosquitoes that can carry the RRV.
“It is very important to tip out all containers with water and store them upside down or under cover to prevent mosquito breeding”, Ms Nina Kurucz said.
Unused swimming pools, blocked roof gutters and unsealed rainwater tanks should also be inspected, as they can be productive mosquito breeding sites.
People in the NT are advised to:
Media Contact: Fred McCue 0401 119 792