A PUBLIC health warning has been issued after mosquitoes in Newcastle and Port Stephens tested positive to being infected with the Ross River virus.
Recent warm weather together with good rainfall has resulted in excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes responsible for spreading the virus.
Symptoms from the 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
So far this year 26 cases of Ross River Fever have been confirmed.
Hunter New England Health is urging people to take precautions, such as avoiding being outside unprotected before dawn and after dusk or using an insect repellent that contains the chemical DEET or picaridin on exposed skin.
“Good rainfall in coastal areas during the past few weeks has contributed to a rise in mosquito numbers while the warm weather allows mosquitoes to survive longer and transmit the virus to people,” public health doctor Kate Hardie said.
“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.”