Beware of Ross River Virus: Bowen’s Mosquito Menace

By Damian Herrington

Bowen is part of tropical Queensland and is famous for its stunning beaches and views. But beneath the picturesque scenery, there’s a hidden threat that residents and tourists alike should be aware of – the Ross River virus (RRV).

In this blog post, I’ll delve into the details of the Ross River virus and the pesky mosquitoes responsible for its spread.

What is the Ross River Virus?

The Ross River virus is a potentially debilitating disease caused by an alphavirus. It was first identified in 1959 on the banks of the Ross River in Townsville. Hence the name.

While RRV is not fatal, it can lead to significant discomfort and impact one’s quality of life.

The Mosquito That Spread It

The Ross River Virus is mainly spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, particularly the Aedes vigilax and Culex annulirostris species.

Aedes Vigilax

These mosquitoes are often found near coastal areas and are notorious for their role in transmitting RRV. They are most active during the summer and early autumn months when humidity and temperatures are high.

Culex Annulirostris

Commonly known as the common banded mosquito, Culex annulirostris is another vector responsible for RRV transmission. They are often found in rural and urban areas, making them a year-round threat.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of Ross River virus can vary from person to person, but they typically include:

  • Fever: A high fever is one of the earliest signs of RRV infection.
  • Joint Pain: Joint pain and swelling, often affecting the wrists, knees, and ankles, are common and can be debilitating.
  • Muscle Pain: Muscle aches and pains are also common and can last for several weeks.
  • Fatigue: Many people with RRV report feeling extremely tired and fatigued.
  • Rash: Some individuals may develop a rash, which is typically not severe.

While RRV is not life-threatening, it can significantly impact your daily life and may require medical treatment. Recovery from RRV can take weeks to months, and in some cases, symptoms may persist for years.

Prevention and Protection

Preventing RRV is all about minimising mosquito exposure. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your loved ones:

  • Treatment: Let us treat your home for mosquitoes
  • Repellent: Use an effective mosquito repellent on exposed skin when outdoors.
  • Protective Clothing: Cover up with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes  when practical
  • Screens: Ensure that windows and doors are equipped with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Breeding Sites: Remove any standing water around your property, as this is where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

Ross River virus is a concern in Bowen. It’s essential to be aware of the risks and take preventive measures.

Understanding the mosquitoes that transmit the virus and knowing the signs and symptoms of RRV can help you protect yourself and your family.

By reducing mosquito exposure and following public health guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of Queensland without falling victim to this pesky mosquito-borne illness.

Stay safe and stay informed!