The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents and visitors to the Mid North Coast to protect themselves from mosquitoes, whose numbers are on the rise.
Public Health Director Paul Corben said recent rainfall means mosquito numbers are likely to increase.
“Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the NSW Mid North Coast (MNC) and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways,” he said.
Compared to the NSW average, people living in this area 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.”
Over the past decade an average of about 430 people living on the MNC are diagnosed annually with either Ross River or Barmah Forest virus.
Steps to avoid being bitten include:
· When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
· Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.
· Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
· Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
· When camping, use fly screens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.