Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are annoying insects which have the potential to carry diseases such as Dengue Fever, Ross River Virus, Barmah Forest Virus and Japanese Encephalitis.

Certain species of mosquitoes breed only in salt marsh waters. These are termed 'saltmarsh mosquitoes' (eg Aedes vigilax). Some species of saltmarsh mosquito are predominantly nuisance mosquitoes, while others are responsible for the transmission of Ross River Fever.

Freshwater mosquitoes may breed in low-lying areas or drains (artificial or natural) containing water. The water may be clear and fresh or highly polluted. Certain species favour artificial water-filled containers (eg Dengue mosquito) while others prefer clean water or polluted water.

Similar to the saltmarsh mosquitoes, some freshwater mosquitoes are capable of transmitting  diseases such as Ross River Virus, whereas others only cause nuisance. The Dengue  mosquito (Aedes aegypti ) which breeds in artificial water-filled containers is a potential vector of Dengue Fever.
 
In order to assist with mosquito control in and around the home, the Whitsunday Regional Council have developed the following factsheet.

On site inspections are conducted at various sites in the region where mosquitoes are likely to breed. People are encouraged to screen their house and stay indoors when mosquitoes are active; and cover up and use a repellent when outdoors. All containers that can hold water should be emptied and stored in a dry place, or thrown out, to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around the home and workplace. For further information and educational resources, please visit the Queensland Health website or contact Health & Environment on (07) 4945 0200.

Some tips to avoid mosquitoes are:
  • Make sure you protect yourself against dengue mosquitoes. Wear long sleeves, trousers, hats and use an effective insect repellent.
  • Dengue Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to breed and often breed in pot plant trays. Tip out your pot plant trays once a week.
  • Gutters are the perfect breeding place for dengue mosquitoes. Clean out your gutters regularly to stop dengue in its tracks.
  • Did you know there are more than 25 common species of mosquitoes in North Queensland with many capable of transmitting disease? Protect your family - wear insect repellent when outside, fit insect screens to your doors and windows and tip out any water lying around.
  • Planning to water your garden? If so, don't over water it otherwise you could have hundreds of mosquitoes buzzing around your backyard.
  • Are mosquitoes getting inside your home? If so, check for tears in your insect screens.
  • Are mosquitoes causing a nuisance in your neighbourhood? If so, contact Council today – 074945 0200
  • Protect your family from dengue mosquitoes - tip it, store it and throw it. Tip out any water in pot plant bases and containers, store items that can hold water in a dry spot or undercover, throw out any rubbish lying around and clean out your gutters.
  • If you start to experience headaches, fevers, aches and pains and vomiting see your doctor immediately.
  • Workplaces can be the perfect breeding grounds for dengue mosquitoes. Reduce the risk of staff getting dengue fever – clean up your worksite at least once a week and tip out any items holding water.
Dengue Fever facts

What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue Fever is a vector-borne disease, that is, it can only be spread from a bite by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, more commonly known as the Dengue mosquito. The mosquito is found in tropical North Queensland, including townships in the Whitsunday Regional Council area.

What are the symptoms of Dengue Fever?
Although Dengue Fever can have many combinations of symptoms, the more commonly experienced symptoms are:
  • sudden fever and extreme tiredness
  • intense headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain
  • a metallic taste in the mouth
  • red or macular (small, flat red spots) rash occurs in half of cases
  • minor bleeding from nose and gums
Are there different types of Dengue Fever?
There are four different types of Dengue Fever (Dengue 1, 2, 3 and 4), all of which show similar signs and symptoms. If a person contracts one type of dengue fever, they become immune to that type, however may still become sick from any of the remaining three types. Contracting Dengue more than once increases the risk of developing Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever which, in severe cases, may be fatal.

Can I catch Dengue Fever from somebody else?
No, not directly such as in the case of the flu. The disease can be spread from person to person via the Dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Is Dengue Fever common in the Whitsunday region?
No. The Whitsunday Region very rarely has any cases of Dengue Fever in the area. Any past cases have been imported cases, that is, somebody has caught the disease from somewhere else and returned to the area with the disease. To date, there have been no locally acquired cases of Dengue Fever, however there is always a risk that this will occur.

What can I do to ensure I do not catch Dengue Fever?
The best thing you can do to stop the disease is to ensure that your house and yard are not a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Dengue mosquito prefers to breed in containers around the house and home (not in drains, creeks, rivers or any other source). At least once a week during the wet season and after rain in the dry season, inspect your property and tip out any containers holding water and either throw them away or store in a dry place. Containers such as bird baths and pet drinking bowls should be cleaned and emptied at least twice a week.

Where can I get further information?
Contact Whitsunday Regional Council's Health & Environment Officers, or visit the Queensland Health website: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/dengue/default.asp

Chemical Control
Larvicides are the preferred method when it comes to chemical control. They rely on eliminating the larvae in the breeding sites before they can mature and breed themselves.
This form of chemical controls require careful timing to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Native Fish for Mosquito Control
Although not a means of chemical control, residents may introduce a variety of native fish to their backyard ponds to help eliminate mosquito breeding. For further information, please contact Health & Environment on (07) 4945 0200.
Residents are encouraged to reduce mosquito breeding sites and protect themselves from mosquito bites. For advice on breeding site reduction and prevention please contact Council's Land Protection Officer on (07) 4945 0200.

Management of Rainwater Tanks
Rainwater tanks in the Whitsunday Region have the potential to create Health risks and can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes if they are not properly managed.
Queensland Health have developed a factsheet for keeping rainwater tanks safe. 
 

  1. P  07 4945 0200
    Email  info@whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au

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