Virus surge hits 100s of residents during pandemic
DEBILITATING mosquito-borne virus cases have surged on the Sunshine Coast with hundreds of residents struck down this year.
A combination of high tides, warm weather and rainfall is believed to be behind the increase of cases across the region.
Queensland Health data for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service shows cases of Ross River and Barmah Forest virus are up considerably on the five-year average.
In this region, there have been 346 cases of Ross River virus recorded this year, compared with the five-year average of 218.
There have also been 59 cases of Barmah Forest virus recorded this year, compared with the five-year average of 18.
The increase comes on top of a global pandemic.
Neither disease are fatal. However, the conditions are serious and will last more than a week.
It comes as residents voiced their concerns to the Sunshine Coast Daily earlier in the year about the plagues of mozzies in their suburbs.
Sunshine Coast public health physician Virginia McLaughlin said it was important for families to protect themselves from the thirsty pests.
"We are seeing more cases locally of both Ross River and Barmah Forest and this is common for autumn," Dr McLaughlin said.
"Peak mosquito breeding season on the Coast is November to March.
"Recent warmer weather, rain and high tides can all contribute to there being more mosquitoes.
'The numbers of BFV cases reported for locals so far this year are also higher than recent years. Numbers of RRV cases are similar to recent years."
Simple steps to reduce you and your family's risk of being bitten include:
• Remaining vigilant at all times of the day (as different disease-carrying mosquitoes can bite at different times) but especially at dawn and dusk on the Sunshine Coast.
• Wearing long, loose, light-coloured clothing.
• Using an insect repellent than contains DEET or picaridin. Read and follow all directions and precautions on the mosquito-repellent product label, especially for infants.
• Emptying any containers holding water around the house at least weekly.
• Installing and maintaining insect screens on all doors and windows at home.
Symptoms of mosquito-borne illness can range from mild to serious, and may include fever, tiredness, and joint or muscle pain.