Published Date: 2012-04-19 23:02:44
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Ross River virus - Australia (03): (VI)
Archive Number: 20120419.1107581
ROSS RIVER VIRUS - AUSTRALIA (03): (VICTORIA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 19 Apr 2012
Source: Geelong Advertiser [edited]
Mosquito control efforts have protected Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong residents from a repeat of the Ross River fever outbreak that plagued the region last year . Department of Health figures show there have been [only] 4 reported cases of the mosquito-borne fever [virus] so far in 2012 in the Barwon South Western region, compared with 82 at the same time last year.
The debilitating illness was particularly prevalent on the Bellarine Peninsula last year , where mozzies were in plague proportions, aided by warm, wet weather over summer. However, conditions were less favourable for the insects this year , and coastal residents say mozzie numbers were not nearly as bad this summer.
An extensive control program by the City of Greater Geelong, including the use of helicopters to spray wetlands, is also believed to have helped control mosquitoes. Prof Eugene Athan, Barwon Health's director of infectious diseases, said there were far fewer mosquitoes in the region this year . "No doubt that's the only thing that's changed," he said. "Last year was extraordinary, but we didn't get the increase in mosquito-borne viruses that we expected this year. The number of cases this year is back to a normal level ... (and) we're hoping that trend will continue."
City of Greater Geelong manager of health and local laws Steve Sodomaco said the city treated mosquito larvae in more than 2300 ha [5683 acres; 8.9 square miles] of wetland. "We will continue to monitor breeding sites during the winter months, and ground-based treatments will occur as needed," he said. "However, it is possible mosquito levels will increase in coming months if warmer weather conditions continue and rainfall increases. Remember to keep an eye on any potential mosquito breeding areas around your home and empty any uncovered rainwater tanks, unused swimming pools, spas or fish ponds, and water containers such as bird baths, old tyres, pot plants and buckets on a regular basis. Protect yourself against mosquito bites by wearing clothing that is light-coloured and loose-fitting and covers your arms and legs and by using an effective insect repellent."
[Byline: Greg Dundas]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[Ross river virus infections have increased this year (2012) in Western Australia and Tasmania. It is good to learn that cases in Victoria state have declined relative to last year (2011). Although not a fatal virus infection, Ross River-infected people often develop a red spotty rash, flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and headaches, as well as stiffness of joints or muscles.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map showing the location of Geelong in Victoria state can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/2dp-. - Mod.TY]