Sunshine Coast leads Queensland for Ross River virus cases
151 people on the Sunshine Coast diagnosed with Queensland's most prolific mosquito-borne disease — Ross River virus.
Posted on 19.11.2021
The Sunshine Coast is leading the state in Ross River Virus cases following recent rainfall and rising temperatures.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service physician Rod McClure said with no vaccine or antiviral treatment available barrier protection was best practice.
“Barrier protection is actually a lot better than chemical protection,” Dr McClure said.
“It’s very useful to think about how to put a barrier between you and a mosquito either by time or by physical place.
“Wear loose, long protective clothing to cover your skin with clothes that the mosquitoes are unable to bite through.”
Residents are also being urged to use other insecticide-based mosquito control devices and empty water containers.
A problem here to stay
A total of 753 Ross River fever cases have been recorded across Queensland in 2021, which is 75 per cent less than this time last year.
Queensland Health chief medical officer Professor Keith McNeil said Ross River virus infections had grown during COVID, unlike declining malaria and dengue rates.
“Rates rose to the highest levels in five years last year, with the majority of cases occurring in South-East Queensland,” Professor McNeil said.
“Ross River virus infections account for the largest number of human mosquito-borne disease notifications in Queensland.”
Ross River virus can be found in more than 40 different species of mosquitoes across Australia, spread from infected mosquitoes to humans.
While current case numbers were low, Professor McNeil urged people not to become complacent with summer the peak time for Ross River infections.
“Typically, Ross River virus cases begin to rise with the onset of rain and warm temperatures in December before peaking in February and March,” he said.
“Cases often occur following above-average rainfall or king tides.”
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