Locals urged to protect against Ross River virus
THE North Coast Public Health Unit is warning Coffs Coast locals to take extra precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites, following recent detections of the Ross River virus in the region.
Acting Public Health Director Dr Jane Jelfs said autumn was a peak time of year for mosquitoes to carry infections.
"Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways," she said.
"There is no treatment for these viruses so the best way to protect yourself is to avoid getting bitten."
Symptoms of Ross River virus include tiredness, rash, fever and sore and swollen joints, typically within three weeks of being bitten.
They can subside after several days but some people may experience symptoms for weeks or even months.
People experiencing these symptoms are advised to see their doctor.
The North Coast Public Health Unit advises residents and visitors to take the following steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
• When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
• Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.
• Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
• Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
• When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.
More information about mosquito-borne infections is available on the NSW Health website.