Fraser Coast hit with 24% more cases of Ross River

Reported cases of Ross River virus have increased by more than 20% in the last year around the region.
Reported cases of Ross River virus have increased by more than 20% in the last year around the region. Henrikl

THIS year's wet conditions have brought a small, annoying and potentially dangerous companion - mosquitos carrying Ross River virus.

The number of reported Ross River cases has increased 24%; from 149 in 2014, to 185 this year on the Fraser Coast and surrounding Wide Bay region.

While people in the region have been told it is unlikely they will contract the disease this far south, Dr Margaret Young from the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service public health sector said the increase would most likely be attributed to the consistent rainfall, not mosquitos carrying the disease migrating south.

"Ross River virus infections have a seasonal pattern with an increase occurring over the summer/early autumn," Dr Young said.

"This year, the peak was at the end of March."

Dr Young added the higher amount of reported cases may be a result of more people understanding the symptoms.

"Ross River virus causes inflammation and pain in multiple joints," she said.

"The joint pain can be severe and usually lasts two to six weeks."

Symptoms can also include a raised red rash affecting mainly the body and limbs which usually lasts up to ten days.

"Most people become unwell within three to 11 days after being bitten by an infectious mosquito."

She said using bug spray containing DEET and removing stagnate water can prevent the risk of contracting the disease.

Ross River prevention

 Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active.

 Burn citronella candles and mosquito coils.

Topics:  fraser coast ross river fever

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