Mosquito Borne Virus Alert

Mosquito-Borne Virus Alert

27 March 2014

Students and staff at the University of Newcastle Callaghan and Central Coast campuses are encouraged to take precautions against mosquitoes, with a recent increase in the number of cases of the mosquito-borne virus, Ross River Fever in the Newcastle area.

In the past week mosquitoes tested from the Newcastle/Port Stephens region have been found to be carrying the Ross River virus.

People are advised to avoid mosquito bites by wearing loose fitting, long sleeved light-coloured clothing and using an insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin.

Chair of the Healthy University Steering Committee, Dr Stephanie Brookman said the incidence of Ross River Virus peaks around this time every year and it is important to remind everyone to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Hunter New England Health Public Health Doctor Kate Hardie said the recent warm weather together with good rainfall has resulted in excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes responsible for spreading Ross River virus.

"These viruses are spread by mosquitoes that feed on animals that have the infection, so prevention depends on avoiding mosquito bites especially in summer and autumn months when infections peak," Dr Hardie said.

The symptoms for Ross River virus infection include fever, skin rash, painful joints and tiredness. Most people affected will have a mild illness that lasts for a few days. However in some people joint aches and lethargy can last for months.

Anyone who is concerned they may have developed an infection should seek advice from their from the University Health Service or their own doctor.

Contact: Sheena Martin
Contact Phone: +61 2 4921 8714
Contact Email: media@newcastle.edu.au