Zika scare

mozie 2

Townsville Public Health Unit has responded with mosquito control activities in Condon on Saturday, following a suspected Zika case in a traveller who had recently returned from overseas.

The Townsville resident had been visiting a country known to have a Zika outbreak.

Tests have shown the resident did have Zika virus on a Pacific island, but would no longer have been infectious to local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes when they arrived home.

Townsville Public Health Unit conducted a local vector-control response around the resident’s home as a precaution, because local dengue mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) could potentially pick up the virus and start a local outbreak.

TPHU Director Doctor Steven Donohue said the resident was recovering from a mild illness and was not pregnant.

Dr Donohue said people needed to know the facts about Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and how to kill them.

“The Aedes aegypti is the only type of mosquito that can spread Zika virus in Townsville,” he said.

“The best way to do this is to spray in and around your home in dark hiding places with an ordinary surface or cockroach insect spray.

“The Aedes aegypti live in and around your home, have a short life expectancy, do not fly far and are likely to bite people on the feet during the day. You may not even notice them.

“Removing breeding sites in and around homes and killing these mosquitoes needs to become as natural as putting out the garbage bins.”

Specifically, this means:
• once a week check yards for mosquito breeding. Tip out, flush out, throw away or dry-store any containers holding water in which mosquitoes can breed
• use indoor surface spray, mozzie zappers and coils around the house to kill dengue mosquitoes and avoid being bitten.
• if a team of professionals from Queensland Health arrive and offer to spray your place, let them do so.
• support the Eliminate Dengue trails in Townsville suburbs, including Condon. These are expected to reduce the ability of local mosquitoes to transmit dengue or Zika
Common Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites include tyres, buckets, toys and pot-plant bases. Residents are also urged to ensure roof gutters are not blocked and breeding mosquitoes.

Dr Donohue said these dengue mosquitoes only bred around homes and in urban areas, not in swamps or creeks.

More information about dengue fever is available at www.health.qld.gov.au/dengue and resources on Zika virus can be found at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/health-alerts/zika/

Anyone who is feeling unwell after visiting a country known to have Zika or dengue outbreaks should visit their GP as soon as possible.