26 September 2023

Mass of mosquitos prompt ‘Fight the Bite’

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South Australians have been called on to ‘fight the bite’ as SA Health declares that recent floods and heat have caused the numbers of mosquitoes to explode across the State.

According to SA Health, monitoring traps have already detected more than five times the usual whole-season amount of mosquitoes carrying the harmful Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus.

“The Loxton Waikerie and Mid Murray council areas have shown extreme numbers of Culex annulirostris, the main mosquito species which carries Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus and Kunjin/West Nile Virus,” the Department said.

Chief Public Health Officer, Nicola Spurrier said that while vaccination was available for JEV in flood-affected areas along River Murray, there was no vaccination or cure for the other infections.

“The best protection from these serious and, in some cases, life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases is not to get bitten in the first place,” Professor Spurrier said.

“We have an explosion in mosquito populations at the moment, so it is vital that South Australians protect themselves,” she said.

“Remain vigilant, wear long-sleeved and light-coloured clothes and apply an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus if you are outside.”

SA Health has additionally urged South Australians to ‘fight the bite’ by preventing mosquitos from entering their home with mesh over doors, windows and vents.

It said that as well as removing stagnant water from around the home ‘fighting the bite’ included replacing it with fresh or salt water in puddles, bird baths, paddling pools, roof gutters, pots and containers.

More information is available at this PS News link.

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