NORTHERN Rivers residents and holiday-makers are being urged to protect themselves against disease-carrying mosquitoes.
North Coast Public Health director Paul Corben said there has recently been an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus in NSW.
"There have been 169 cases of Ross River Virus and 97 cases of Barmah Forest Virus confirmed so far this year," he said.
"Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus are spread by mosquitoes that feed on animals with an infection. Symptoms include tiredness, rash fever, and sore and swollen joints, and while these symptoms usually subside after several days, some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months."
Mr Corben said other diseases, such as Murray Valley Encephalitis and Kunjin Virus, which cause severe headaches, sensitivity to bright lights and confusion, were also a concern.
As people spend more time outdoors during the Easter holidays, Mr Corben said they will become more susceptible to bites, raising the need for people to take preventative measures.
"I urge people to cover up, use insect repellents, install insect screens in your home and consider using mosquito nets when camping," he said.
"It's also a good idea to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats by removing stagnant water around campsites, homes and gutters."
According to NSW Health, people in warm and humid areas near bodies of water are most at risk.
There is no specific treatment for Ross River Virus or Barmah Forest Virus but doctors may prescribe medications to ease discomfort caused by symptoms.
Preventing Mosquito Bites:
- Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and closed footwear outdoors
- Use repellents containing diethyl toluamide or picaridin on exposed skin
- Use mosquito coils outside and vaporising mats indoors
- Remove potential mosquito breeding sites such as stagnant water in containers
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