Environment & Health >> Mosquitoes & Arboviruses

Mosquitoes & Arboviruses

Mosquitoes

Please take extra care when outdoors due to the massive increase in mosquito borne infections. 

Water is an important component of human lifestyle and economy, but unfortunately it is also important for mosquitoes to complete their life cycles.

There are many species of mosquitoes, but the ones that are considered pests are the species that suck blood. With these species, the female requires a blood meal to gain the protein required to lay eggs. The itching sensation often experienced with mosquito bites can cause restless sleep, inflammation and infection.

However, the major problem with mosquitoes is not so much the annoyance of itching after being bitten my them but their role in the transmission of diseases. Mosquitoes themselves do not cause disease but act as a 'vector' in the transmission of disease between vertebrate hosts. The diseases spread include filarial worms (a type of nematode), malaria, and arboviruses. Of these, arboviruses (a type of virus that lives in insects like mosquitoes and is passed onto humand through insect bites) are of the most concern in Australia, and the most common in the Riverina region is the Ross River Virus. See below for more details on arboviruses.

It is therefore important to minimise contact with mosquitoes to avoid catching these diseases.

How to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes:

Creating a mosquito-free zone at home:

Take a look at this NSW Health flyer for more information on mosquitoes and taking precautions against them.

Creating a mosquito-free zone on the farm:

Keep dams, irrigation channels and ground pools free of vegetation.

For more information, see the University of Sydney website on irrigation and mosquito control.

Arboviruses

Arboviruses are a type of virus that lives in insects like mosquitoes and is passed onto humand through insect bites. The most common occurring arboviruses in New South Wales are Ross River Virus, Murray Valley Encephalitis, Barmah Forest Virus, and Kunjin Virus. All are notifiable diseases.

Ross River & Barmah Forest Virus

Murray Valley & Kunjin Encephalitis

NSW Arbovirus Surveillance & Vector Monitoring Program

This program monitors mosquito populations around the state during their breeding season. Griffith is currently monitored as part of this program. There are two parts to the testing. One is the collection of mosquitoes and establishing population numbers. The other part is the use of 'sentinel chickens' whose blood is tested on regular intervals for the presence of Murray Valley encephalitis and Kunjin as well as some other viruses. These results alert NSW Health to any increasing number in mosquito numbers or the occurrence of diseases. The results and further information are available from NSW Health’s Arbovirus Monitoring site.

For more information about Council's NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program please contact the Environment and Health Department on (02) 6962 8100.