Ross River virus alert for Wheatbelt travellers, residents

Ross River virus alert for Wheatbelt travellers, residents

PEOPLE living or travelling through the Wheatbelt are urged to take extra care to avoid mosquito bites following an increase in Ross River virus cases.

The warning from the WA Country Health Service Wheatbelt Public Health Unit comes after public health physician Naru Pal noted 37 cases so far this year compared to 31 at the same time last year.

“The illnesses caused by Ross River virus include painful joints, aching muscles, lethargy, fever, headache and skin rashes, and symptoms may last from weeks to months,” Dr Pal said.

She said people with symptoms should seek medical attention from their GP or their local hospital.

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“There are no specific cures or vaccines for this mosquito-borne disease, so it is very important that people take care to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.”

The Department of Health ‘Fight the Bite’ campaign encourages individuals to wear protective clothing when outdoors and always at dawn and dusk when the midge-like flies are most active.

Other protective measures include applying a personal repellent containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) or picaridin.