Over 1000 cases of Ross River virus reported in Victoria.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Professor Charles Guest, revealed that as of the middle of February there had been 1012 notifications of Ross River virus in Victoria.
This is over 10 times more than the 2010 flooding in Victoria.
Ross River virus and other diseases like Barmah Forest virus and Murray Valley encephalitis are carried by mosquitoes and contracted from their bite. Recent rain and warm weather has created a perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed.
The virus has been detected around Mildura and Moira / Barmah Forest as well as the Loddon, Mallee and Hume regions.
There have also been some cases in southern metropolitan Melbourne.
Symptoms & Transmission
Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus disease are similar. Both can cause joint swelling and pain, fatigue and muscle aches which can persist for many months. A rash and fever may also develop. It takes three to nine days for symptoms of Ross River virus disease to occur after exposure, and occasionally up to 21 days. Barmah Forest virus disease symptoms occur between seven to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito. While everyone recovers from the initial onset, symptoms may recur in some individuals for over a year or more.
Murray Valley encephalitis symptoms begin between seven to 28 days after exposure and include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. This can lead to meningitis or encephalitis, which can lead to drowsiness, confusion, fitting, weariness or unsteadiness. In severe cases delirium and coma can follow, resulting in brain damage or death.
Anyone is at risk of contracting one of these viruses and the best prevention is to avoid being bitten:
- Wear long, loose fitting and light coloured clothing (mosquitoes are less likely to land on light colours as they are more visible)
- Use insect repellents containing DEET - apply to your clothes as well as your skin - mozzies can bite through denim!!
- Avoid being outdoors when mozzies are most active around dawn and dusk
- Use mosquito nets at night
- Don't forget to cover up the kids as well.
See your doctor to get tested if you are showing symptoms.
For more information visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/beat-the-bite