The WA Department of Health last week issued a warning to residents to try avoid mosquito bites after its surveillance program detected the viruses at mosquito breeding sites across the region.
The department’s latest state-wide notifiable disease report for the eight-week period ended October 14 showed nearly a 40 per cent jump in reported cases of RRV and an explosion of BFV over the same time period last year.
There were 37 RRV and 29 BFV cases reported between August 20 and October 13 this year, compared with 27 reported cases of RRV and five of BFV last year.
Concern is rising that this summer could be worse than 2011-12, when more than 700 people were infected with RRV in Perth alone.
RRV and BFV have similar symptoms and lifecycles and they can be caught only through mosquito contact. Symptoms include painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, aching tendons, skin rashes, fever, tiredness, headaches and swollen lymph nodes.
Less common are sore eyes and throat, nausea and tingling in the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the council’s mosquito control program was already in full swing.
‘The City of Swan does not work alone in dealing with mosquito numbers,’ he said.
‘We have a partnership arrangement with the cities of Belmont and Bayswater and towns of Bassendean and Victoria Park. This partnership allows for a sharing of expertise and by working together we are more effective at dealing with mosquito outbreaks.
‘New equipment has also been purchased by some of the councils to better assist with the control program.’
He said the City would monitor known mosquito breeding sites within the district and investigate all complaints.
Monitoring is usually conducted by setting mosquito traps and inspecting water bodies for larva. Where breeding is identified, eradication treatment is undertaken.
The City uses the larvicide Vectobac G because of its low toxicity.
If the breeding occurs on private land, such as in a disused pool, gutter or car tyres, the council has the power to require the landowner to take action toeliminate the breeding site.
Report a problem to the City of Swan by calling 9267 9267.