North Coast Public Health director warns about increased risk of mosquitoes during high rainfall periods

Are you feeling the itch yet?
Are you feeling the itch yet?

There is consensus in the weather community that Australia’s east coast is currently in the throes of  a La Nina cycle.

The cooler, wetter Christmas that this system brought about was a blessing for many who struggle with oppressive heat. 

But with the increased rainfall of a La Nina comes a heightened risk of blood suckers.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents and visitors to the Mid North Coast to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes that are expected to increase in numbers across the region.

Public Health Director Paul Corben said rainfall and higher tides around Christmas mean mosquito numbers are likely to increase.

“Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the NSW north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways,” Mr Corben said. 

Compared to the NSW average, people living on the north coast are five to eight times more likely to be infected with Barmah Forest virus and three to five times more likely to be infected with Ross River virus.

“We are heading towards a time when we see the highest numbers of people infected with Ross River or Barmah Forest virus, so protecting yourself from mosquitoes at this time of year is particularly important,” Mr Corben added.

On average in each year over the past decade about 430 people living on NSW north coast were diagnosed with either Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus.

Steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:

More information about mosquito-borne infections is available on the NSW Health website.

This story La Nina means more mosquitoes first appeared on Guardian News.