Mosquito plague has hit Western Australia's south region with 50 cases being reported in the past three weeks alone. The Ross River virus has also been reported in the Territories with another 50 cases being reported over the last 30 days.
Entomologist Nina Kurucz said that the pre-monsoon rains have created an ideal breeding ground for the mosquitoes. "The problem is that this sort of mosquito can fly up to 50 kilometers so they're coming from outside our control areas, so from the
wider Howard River area and they're dispersing into the northern suburbs of Aarwin, so the worst affected areas are Karama, Leanyer and Casuarina coastal reserve," she observed. The Center for Disease Control is recommending DEET-based repellent to ward off the virus. Dr Vicki Krause, director of the CDC says that since no vaccine is available, this is the only way to prevent the virus, "Ross River virus is a virus you'd rather avoid - it causes fever, fatigue, often you get a rash, but it usually presents with painful swollen joints in the fingers, the wrists the ankles and the knees," she said. Western Australian Health Department spokesman Dr Mike Lindsay has asked people to take preventive measures since rain and flooding in the north and further inland are sure to encourage mosquito breeding, "In most areas of the south-west, where there are still fairly substantial mosquito populations, we're advising people to treat those mosquitoes and potential disease carriers and to take appropriate precautions to avoid getting bitten," he commented.