New South Wales Ministry of Health (NSW Health) has warned of the risks of infection with Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses following increased detection of virus compared to this time in 2015. Flooding in inland New South Wales has led to a marked increase in mosquito numbers, with Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses being identified in Forbes, Griffith, Leeton, and Moama. 63 cases of infection have been recorded this season and more are expected in the coming months. These infections are not usually life threatening but will cause fever, chills, headache, joint pains and rash. NSW Health also warns of a possibility that the more dangerous Kunjin and Murray Valley encephalitis viruses may be present and advises the public to take extra care to avoid mosquito bites.
Advice for Travellers
These viruses are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Travellers should be made aware of the risk areas in Australia.
Avoidance of mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, by covering up and the use of bite avoidance measures is recommended to reduce risk. Those at increased risk include babies, young children, tourists and those living or camping near swamp and river systems during the evening and night.