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South Australia’s mosquito population explodes, risk of disease soars


South Australians are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites due to the increased population due to floods and heat.

South Australians are being urged to fight the bite, as a perfect storm of floods and heat has caused mosquito numbers to explode across the state.

One month into the current mosquito season, SA monitoring traps have already detected more than five times the usual whole-season amount of mosquitoes carrying the harmful Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV).

Mosquitoes trapped in the Loxton Waikerie and Mid Murray council areas include high to extreme numbers of Culex annulirostris, the main mosquito species which carries Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) and Kunjin/West Nile Virus (WNV/KUN).

While vaccination is available for JEV in flood-affected areas along River Murray, there is no vaccination or cure for other infections.

All South Australians are being urged to protect their healthcare and Fight the Bite.

  • Wear long, loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing, covering as much of the body as you can.
  • Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD)
  • Apply repellent evenly to all areas of exposed skin, as you would with sunscreen
  • Reapply regularly, as per the label instructions
  • Stop mosquitos coming indoors with mesh over doors, windows and vents
  • Remove stagnant water from around your home – including fresh or salt water in puddles, bird baths, paddling pools, roof gutters, pots and containers

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said, “The best protection from these serious and in some cases life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases is to not get bitten in the first place.

We have an explosion in mosquito populations at the moment, so it is vital that South Australians protect themselves.

Remain vigilant, wear long-sleeved and light-coloured clothes and apply an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus if you are outside. This will help reduce your exposure,” Spurrier added.


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