Mosquito Borne Diseases

The most common mosquito borne diseases in Queensland are Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Virus and Dengue. While some mosquito borne diseases are locally acquired in Queensland, others are imported to Queensland when people acquire the disease travelling overseas and return unwell.

The other notifiable mosquito borne disease in Queensland that residents should be aware of (particularly pregnant women) is the Zika virus.

Dengue Fever

The dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti, occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, including North Queensland which greatly increases our risk of a major Dengue Fever outbreak. The mosquito breeds around the house and generally bites you indoors during daylight hours.

Dengue fever is transmitted by a bite from the dengue mosquito, which has previously bitten a person infected with the dengue virus. It only takes one mosquito to infect a number of people in a short period of time. Typical dengue fever symptoms include intense headache, especially behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, extreme fatigue, sudden onset of fever (lasting 3 - 7 days), minor bleeding (gums or nose), skin rash, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea. Ask your doctor for a blood test if you feel you may have the virus.

Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (excessive bleeding) is one serious outcome of dengue which can be fatal, particularly among young children. There is no medical cure for Dengue Fever and no vaccine to provide immunity.

If you or anyone in your family have any symptoms of dengue, please see a doctor immediately. If you have dengue fever, you will then know you have to take steps to prevent the virus being passed on to others nearby.

Visit The Queensland Health website for more information on Dengue Fever.

Ross River Virus

The virus is only spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the virus include Culex annulirostris, Aedes vigilax and Aedes notoscriptus. Ross River Virus occurs widely in Australia. Mostly, cases of the virus occur from February to May, but it can occur at other times. Outbreaks of the virus are reflected by increased mosquito breeding during periods of high rainfall or high tides.

It can take around three to nine days after being bitten by an infected mosquito before the symptoms are first experienced. Some people infected by the Ross River virus may not even experience the symptoms. Those with symptoms will experience joint pain and swelling followed in one to ten days by a rash on the torso and limbs. The rash usually lasts one to ten days and may be accompanied by a fever. Tingling and pain in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet is sometimes experienced.

If you have Ross River Virus, you will recover. The time taken to recover from the virus varies between people and can last several months.

Visit the Queensland Health website for more information on Ross River Virus.

Zika Virus

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne disease globally. Like dengue it is spread from person to person by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes are found in North Queensland and some parts of central and southern Queensland. There have been no outbreaks of Zika virus in Australia. However, people infected with Zika virus while overseas who return to an area where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are found could be the source of a local outbreak if they are bitten by the mosquito while unwell. Zika can also be sexually transmitted.

About Zika

Avoiding Dengue Fever, Zika and Ross River Virus

1. Do your weekly yard check and empty water that has pooled in containers - The Aedes aegypti mosquito (responsible for spreading dengue and Zika) breed in stagnant water.

Pot plant bases Tyres Palm fronds Containers
Boats Birdbaths Buckets Tarpaulins
Drain sumps Bromeliads Roof guttering Rainwater tanks

The Aedes aegypti mosquito does not breed in rivers, swamps, open drains, creeks, mangroves and flooded parks.

2. Don't get bitten - Use repellent, mozzie coils, surface sprays and wear loose clothes. Screen your house if possible.

3. See your doctor if you feel unwell