The Southern New South Wales Local Health District (SNSWLHD) is alerting the community
to take extra precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne
diseases such as Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus, particularly in coastal areas.
An increased number of suspected cases of Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus
infection have been reported to the Public Health Unit and are currently under investigation.
Investigations indicate that it is likely most of these infections were acquired in the South
Coast region of NSW. NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito monitoring program has
seen moderate number of mosquitoes in early February at a trapping in Narooma.
Manager of Infectious Diseases, April Roberts-Witteveen, said that Ross River Fever and
Barmah Forest Virus are both caused by mosquito bites.
“The symptoms of both diseases are similar and include rash, fever, chills, headache, aches and pains which typically begin within three weeks of being bitten. Tiredness and sore and swollen joints can also occur. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor,” said Ms Roberts-Witteveen.
Symptoms can subside after a few weeks but some people may experience them for weeks
or even months.
Simple steps to avoid mosquito bites include:
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. Those containing oil of lemon eucalyptus can also
provide adequate protection.
Take special care during peak mosquito biting hours, especially around dawn and
Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen
windows and doors.
When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.
Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils
(outdoors) to clear rooms or repel mosquitoes from an area. Devices that use light to
attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
A Ross River Fever factsheet is available from the NSW Health website at:
A Barmah Forest Virus factsheet is available from the NSW Health website at: