Mozzies with dengue fever found
BEWARE: Aedes Aegypti may be coming to breed in water near you.
And Gympie Regional Council is taking the threat seriously, with Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett saying the community needed to be made aware the insects were inhabiting the area and carrying disease.
Aedes Aegypto is a mosquito which carries and can transmit dengue fever to humans and it has been found in 10 locations in Goomeri, about 60km from Gympie – as the mozzie flies.
Council’s Health and Environmental Services co-ordinator Ian Wolff revealed at yesterday’s meeting Goomeri wasn’t the tropics-loving mosquito’s usual environment and Queensland Health (QH) was monitoring the situation closely.
QH surveyed 90 properties in Goomeri, 23 in Kilkivan and 34 in Gunalda from February 22 to 24.
The aegypto mosquitos were found in Goomeri and Kilkivan back in 2004, but they were only detected in Goomeri this time around, with the numbers of the mosquitos dropping, a QH report said.
The report went on to say there was a medium level of risk that if dengue was introduced to Goomeri it would be transmitted via the mosquitos.
In Kilkivan, however, there was a risk of residents getting Ross River virus from mosquitos breeding in domestic containers.
The highest numbers of Aedes Notoscriptus was found in Kilkivan, which meant if the dengue carriers found their way to the town they would quickly become established in the same breeding sites.
QH is now recommending efforts be put into eliminating the dengue carrying mozzies from premises in Goomeri to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Mr Wolff said QH officers would be heading back to Goomeri for monthly visits to ensure the mosquito was eradicated.
QH will monitor them for five months from November to March.
Other actions they are asking landholders to take include reducing the number of breeding sites the mosquitos use, including rubbish such as tyres and ice cream containers.
The department also suggested changing water in bird baths and other containers for animals and pets every four days to prevent larvae from completing their development cycle.
By checking that rainwater tanks are well screened, a large breeding area for mosquitos will be eliminated and if people reduce the amount of Bromeliad plants around homes, remove pot plant saucers or fill them with sand, other potential breeding sites can be limited.
Bromeliad plants were the most prevalent available breeding site found in Kilkivan, so QH is warning the public to keep numbers to manageable levels so they can be hosed with a strong stream of water every three or four days, or pesticides can be applied to kill larvae.
The QH report also said Kilkivan and Gunalda’s proximity to Goomeri meant the aegypto mosquito could easily establish there and it was essential for both towns to be surveyed every two years.