Mosquitoes and Ross River Virus Warning for Regional Victoria


Residents and visitors to Victoria are being warned to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus.

Ross River virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the Gippsland Lakes area around Ninety Mile Beach.

These viruses can cause symptoms including joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash and fatigue.

Not all mosquitoes carry diseases – most are just a nuisance. However infected mosquitoes can carry a range of diseases including Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus. These diseases can cause serious illness and occur regularly in regional Victoria.

Recent weather conditions are favourable to mosquito biting and breeding.

Taking measures to avoid mosquito bites is a critical step to protect against diseases.

Anyone is potentially at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and while most bites will only cause minor swelling and irritation, an infected mosquito can transmit potentially serious diseases.

All parts of Victoria where there are mosquitoes may carry a risk for Ross River virus infection, although the risk is greatest in rural and regional Victoria, including many coastal holiday areas. Infection appears to be rare in outer metropolitan areas.

Symptoms and transmission

Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus disease are similar.

Both can cause joint swelling and pain, fatigue and muscle aches which can persist for many months.

A rash and fever may also develop.

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

Barmah Forest virus disease symptoms occur between seven to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

While everyone recovers from the initial onset, symptoms may recur in some individuals for over a year or more.

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