Barmah Forest virus

detected in Empire Bay

Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) is urging the community to take action to protect themselves against mosquito bites following the detection of Barmah Forest virus in mosquitoes at Empire Bay.

5 April 2023


MOSQUITOES can carry viruses, including Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus, and then spread these viruses from infected animals to humans. These viruses are not spread from person to person.


CCLHD Director of Public Health Dr Kathryn Taylor said it’s the first detection of a mosquito-borne virus on the Central Coast through NSW Health’s Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program during the arbovirus season, usually November to April.


“This is a timely reminder for everyone to continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites – particularly given the upcoming Easter long weekend when many people will be enjoying outdoor activities,” Dr Taylor said.


“The Central Coast Public Health Unit regularly monitors mosquito numbers at six locations across the Coast: Empire Bay, Halekulani, Long Jetty, North Avoca, Ourimbah and Pearl Beach.”


Symptoms of mosquito-borne illnesses include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, stiffness and pain, a rash usually on the torso or arms, tiredness or weakness. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by:


  • wearing light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered footwear and socks, especially around dusk and dawn


  • applying repellent to all areas of exposed skin, using repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus


  • re-applying repellent regularly, particularly after swimming, being sure to always apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent


  • covering openings such as windows and doors with insect screens and checking there are no gaps in them


  • removing items that might collect water (such as old tyres, empty pots) outside your house where mosquitoes can breed


  • improving drainage on your property so that water does not become stagnant


  • using insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units and mosquito coils to repel mosquitoes (mosquito coils should only be used outside).


For more information visit Mosquito-borne diseases.

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