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Beat the bite

Publish Date: 18/10/2016

photo of mosquito

Moira Shire Council is urging visitors and residents to protect themselves, family members and pets from mosquito bites over the summer.

Moira Shire Manager of Safety, Amenity and Environment Sally Rice said that with flood waters spread across the shire and warm weather, mosquitos were already out in force.

“In many locations across Australia including Moira Shire, mosquito bites can do more than cause an annoying itch. Cases are rare, but mosquitoes can transmit Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses and Murray Valley Encephalitis. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce these risks,” said Ms Rice.

Moira Shire recommends the following six tips to minimise the risk of mosquito bites.

  • Apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET or picaridin regularly. 
  • Wear light coloured, loose-fitting clothes with long sleeves and long trousers (mosquitoes are attracted to dark coloured clothes and can bite through tight clothes).
  • Avoid outdoor activity around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Check and repair any tears or gaps in fly screens on houses, caravans and other holiday accommodation.
  • Empty open containers of water from around the home or campsite to prevent mosquito breeding – especially water bowls for pets and static-water features.
  • Control mosquitoes that enter your house or holiday accommodation with an insecticide aerosol spray and by spraying bedrooms before going to sleep.

“Please also consider your pets. Mosquitoes are known to carry viruses that affect certain animals so talk with your vet or rural supply store for ideas on how to reduce the risk of infection,” said Ms Rice.

Due to the flooding across the Shire, Council has begun its mosquito monitoring program a month earlier than usual. An increase in mosquito numbers has already been noted.

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Council uses larvicide in ponding water in urban areas to help control the number of mosquitos, as well as conducting a larvae survey and species identification.

The mosquito monitoring program operates in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and helps monitor mosquito numbers and locate breeding sites.

Traps across the Shire are set weekly and the trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resource’s AgriBio Centre at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, where they are identified and checked to determine if any of the mosquitoes are carrying viruses.

“Our monitoring program is helping us and our partner agencies understand and combat the risk of mosquito-transmitted viruses,” said Ms Rice.

More information about mosquito-borne diseases is available from the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel website at The Better Health Channel.

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