Mosquitoes still out for blood

Contrary to popular belief, mosquito populations have not receded in the recent cold snap - in fact, the insects are thriving. Picture: FILE

Burnett residents are being told to stay wary of mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, even in the upcoming colder months.

The call for caution comes after an awareness campaign by the Darling Downs Health Service’s Public Health Unit, with one doctor saying that just because the days and nights are now getting colder, it does not mean that mosquitoes had stopped breeding.

“In some rural areas, we actually see more mosquitoes at this time of year because it is actually too hot from them during the summer months,” Public Health Unit professional Doctor Liam Flynn explained.

“It is therefore important for people to continue protecting themselves from getting sick from a mozzie bite even in winter.”

The Darling Downs Health Service call-out was followed by separate statements from the North and South Burnett Regional Councils, with both calling on residents to stay aware of the dangers mosquito-borne diseases can present.

“Following recent rain, stagnant water can provide an ideal breeding place for mosquitoes. This includes water laying around in rural areas,” a spokesperson for the North Burnett Regional Council stated.

“Depending on the species of mosquito, some can fly many kilometres.

“There are also mosquitoes that breed in containers of stagnant water around the home.

“Inspect your yard and ensure rainwater tanks are screened and tip out stagnant water from any containers,” they concluded.

In the South Burnett, Natural Resource Management, Compliance and Environmental Health portfolio holder and councillor Scott Henschen said that there had already been a number of cases of the mosquito-transmitted Ross River virus in the region this year.

“A ‘Mosquito Notifiable Diseases Update’ from Queensland Health advised there has only been three cases of Ross River Virus in the region for 2023,” Cr Henschen stated in his 5 April portfolio report.

“The State Government held regional meetings for industry, government agencies and primary

producers on Biosecurity risks nationally as well as here in Queensland,” he went on to explain.

“The three main topics where discussed were the risk of African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth [Disease] and Japanese Encephalitis.”

“Mosquitoes can pass on a range of viruses from animals to humans,” Darling Downs Public Health Unit Doctor Liam Flynn explained.

“These viruses may cause mild symptoms in some people, but other people may experience severe sickness, hospitalisation, and even death.”

To this extent, Darling Downs Health advises those at risk of exposure to mosquitoes to employ personal protection measures, such as wearing “light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and long trousers, and covered footwear.”

Other measures include using insect repellents like diethyltoluamide, commonly known as DEET, or others like picaridin and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and avoiding going outside at dusk or dawn.