With Sydney getting a good soaking of rain, an early onslaught of mosquitoes is predicted for the coming summer months –and health officials are urging people across Sydney to cover up in order to stop a Ross River virus outbreak.
NSW Health Pathology medical entomologist Dr Cameron Webb told Seven News that perfect wet weather conditions had sparked a number of recent tests in key Sydney water channels to determine the severity of the season.
“Mosquitos loves warm, wet conditions,” he said.
“Now we’re seeing rain across Australia, mosquitos are getting ready to explode. The more it rains, the more mosquitos love it.”
Symptoms of Ross River virus develop seven to 10 days after the initial infected mosquito bite, and typically causes headaches, chills, fever and stiffness.
NSW Health Pathology’s Director of Public Health, Professor Dominic Dwyer told Nine News just one mosquito bite would be enough to transmit the virus.
“That can be severe enough to stop people being able to work or function normally,” he said.
“And of course it’s expensive for the health care system, so it’s chronic aspect of the Ross River virus that’s a big clinical problem.”
While there’s no current vaccine or specific treatment, NSW Health recommends seeing your GP to help with managing the symptoms.
In order to avoid mozzie bites in the first place, use insect repellent, wear long sleeve shirts and pants, and steer clear of bushland and wetlands – especially at dusk and dawn.