War against mosquitoes: Ross River virus threatens state

It is official. Mosquitoes are waging war on us and we need to be prepared. 

Confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, Ross River fever, have soared in the Grampians region. 

A total of 14 cases of the disease were confirmed in the area so far this year, just four cases below last year’s entire figure.

Typically a problem in regional Victoria, the infected mosquitoes have even attempted to take over the city.

Six people in Melbourne were diagnosed with Ross River virus this year and heath authorities have warned it could be the first time it was detected in the city.

Ross River virus was even trending on Facebook last week after television news outlets begun their public warnings.

The virus could cause joint swelling, fatigue, fever, rashes and muscle aches, which could persist for many months.

Residents in the Grampians region who have contracted the virus have said it was debilitating, even as far as restricting the individual to walk, or even stand up. 

People with the disease have struggled to wake up and go to work.

Normal every day activities had become excruciatingly difficult. Lifting a spoon or opening a tap could be a task one day, and the next, you could wake up in a pool of sweat. 

The virus is erratic, it decides which joints and muscles to attack and when.

After the region experienced one of its wettest springs on record, the districts’ lakes, dams and rivers were providing the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. 

Do not wait any longer to act. 

With the State Emergency Services and weather outlets warning of more summer downpours on the way, the mosquito force will only become stronger.

State health authorities have warned avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk, especially near wetlands, as this is when mosquitoes were most active.

Covering exposed skin and using repellents containing DEET or picaridin and sleeping under nets treated with insecticides if you did not have flywire screens on windows were also recommended. 

It could take up to three to nine days for symptoms of Ross River virus to occur after exposure, and occasionally up to 21 days.

We cannot be complacent, go forth, stock your houses with repellent, listen to the command of Victorian health officials, let’s unite and conquer these disgusting disease-infested pests. 

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