Horsham Rural City Council has stepped up its mosquito control program following the detection of Ross River virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis in the municipality.
Environmental Health Co-ordinator, Luke Mitton said Council was part of the Victorian Government’s mosquito surveillance program which included setting traps in specific areas to test for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
“Mosquitoes that are trapped are sent to Melbourne for identification and testing for disease. The surveillance program provides early detection for potential mosquito borne disease,” Mr Mitton said.
“Since last October we have also conducted larval mosquito treatment in high traffic locations around the municipality and also treating mosquito larvae in stagnant water sources.
“Treating the larvae prevents them from developing into adult mosquitoes and is the most effective treatment.
“Since the viruses were found to be present, adult fogging and spraying is also now occurring in areas where mosquitoes congregate, usually areas with lots of foliage. Council is also targeting areas where public events are to be held to temporarily reduce the number of adult mosquitoes,” Mr Mitton said.
Reducing breeding grounds for mosquitoes is one of the most effective ways to limit mosquito numbers in the Horsham area, he said.
“You can do your part by regularly emptying out stagnant water from containers, pet bowls, old tyres, bird baths and flowerpots.”
“Using personal protections like using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved loose-fitting clothing, avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk, and using mosquito coils around the house can reduce your chance of being bitten and avoid a potential mosquito-borne disease.”
Symptoms of the viruses include joint pain, fatigue, muscle aches, and a rash.