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Fight the Bite, Mozzie Warning

With the recent increase in mosquito numbers on the South Coast, Southern NSW Local Health District is warning residents to take extra precautions and protect themselves against being bitten. “Mosquitoes can carry human diseases like Barmah Forest virus, Ross River virus, and Kunjin viruses,” Alison Nikitas Acting Director Public Health said. “People need to take steps to avoid mosquito bites to avoid getting sick,” Ms Nikitas said. This year to date we have received 18 notifications of Ross River Virus in the District, which is higher than the same time last year.” “With Easter holidays, many people will be holidaying at the South Coast and we want to warn holiday makers about the recent increase in mosquito numbers,” said Ms Nikitas. “Ross River Virus infection can cause symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints. The symptoms usually resolve after several days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months. Avoiding mosquito bites is especially important when people are enjoying outdoor activities such as camping or fishing in areas with high mosquito numbers. Mosquitoes that carry these viruses are usually most active in the hours after sunset and again around dawn. Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include: • Cover up as much as possible when outside 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 from perspiration, particularly on hot nights. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin. • The stronger the concentration of an insect repellent, the less frequently it will need to be applied to stop mosquito bites. Repellents containing low concentrations of DEET or Picaridin provide shorter periods of protection so it's important to read the product information. • Topical repellents are not recommended for use on children under three months of age. Use of physical barriers such as netting of prams, cots and play areas is preferred. • Repellents containing less than 10 per cent DEET or Picaridin are safe for older children if applied according instructions. • 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. Make sure tent screens are zipped closed at all times. • A knock-down spray can be used in tents or bedrooms about 20 minutes before going to bed. Media Release

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