Ross River Virus Risk in City of Kwinana

Ross River Virus Risk in City of Kwinana
8 February 2021

The City has been made aware of the detection of Ross River virus (RRV) in mosquitoes collected from The Spectacles wetlands during a Department of Health surveillance program.

Mosquitoes are currently at high numbers in the City due to favourable environmental conditions, and City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams is urging residents to extra care to avoid being bitten in coming weeks.

“During the current five-day lockdown, some residents are choosing to spend their allocated hour of exercise time outdoors,” Mayor Adams said.

“Even if you aren’t within The Spectacles, but you are outdoors in the region, you are at risk of contracting this mosquito-borne disease,” she said.

Whilst the Spectacles is located in the City of Kwinana, the land itself is managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Mayor Adams said that land ownership and responsibility posed a challenge for the City, which is currently investigating appropriate mosquito management options for the area, in collaboration with the Department of Health and other relevant agencies.

“Management of the mosquito population is only one part of the puzzle,” Mayor Adams said.

“Given there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for RRV disease, and the only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, we are urging residents to take extra precaution at the moment,” Mayor Adams said.

Symptoms of RRV disease can last for weeks to months, and include painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rash, fever, fatigue and headaches. The only way to diagnose the disease is by visiting your doctor and having a specific blood test.

Individuals within the City are encouraged to take the following precautions to prevent mosquito bites:

  • avoid outdoor exposure, particularly at dawn and early evening;
  • wear protective (long, loose-fitting, light-coloured) clothing when outdoors;
  • apply an effective personal repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin evenly to all areas of exposed skin and always follow the label instructions;
  • ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening;
  • remove water holding containers from around the home and garden to ensure mosquitoes do not breed in your own backyard;use mosquito coils and mosquito lanterns and apply barrier sprays containing bifenthrin in patio and outdoor areas around houses; and
  • ensure insect screens are installed and in good condition on houses and caravans;
  • use mosquito nets and mosquito-proof tents if sleeping outside.

For more information about mosquito prevention visit Healthy WA.