HUNTER residents are being urged to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes following a surge in notifications for the Ross River Virus this year.
There have already been 152 confirmed cases of the virus for 2014 within Hunter New England, up from 96 last year.
Symptoms include tiredness, fever, skin rash, painful joints.
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.
Recent warm weather together with good rainfall has resulted in excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes responsible for spreading the virus, the Hunter health authority has warned.
Public health physician Dr David Durrheim said this October would be a high-risk period.
“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,” he said.
“The coastal high tides in early October will provide an excellent breeding opportunity for saltmarsh mosquitoes.
“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.”
Methods for avoiding mosquito bites include:
• Avoid being outside unprotected before dawn and after dusk
• Avoid known high risk breeding sites, including marsh areas
• When outside wear loose fitting, light coloured clothing that cover your arms and legs
• Use an insect repellent that contains the chemical DEET or picaridin on exposed skin
• Fit and maintain fly screens to all windows and doors
• If mosquitoes are inside use a knockdown insecticide in bedrooms half an hour before going to bed according to instructions