GRIFFITH has been flagged as a hotspot for Ross River fever after Murrumbidgee Local Health District released the figures for the month of December which has seen an increase in the number of recorded cases.
Public Health Unit Director, Tracey Oakman said there were 34 cases of the virus in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District in December which is five times the average for this time of year.
“The highest number of notifications have been in the 45-to-65-year-old group,” she said.
“The next age group most commonly notified is the 25-to-44-year-old age group.”
Ms Oakman also said some holiday makers in the Riverina who contracted the disease were unlikely to have been picked up in the figures released.
“If we’ve got holiday makers that have been bitten and gone home, they will be recorded as having the virus from the postcode they are living in,” she said.
The conditions the area faced during late September meant mosquitoes numbers were going to be high and this is the reason Ms Oakman think the number of cases has risen so much.
“That’s really concerning because we don’t normally see such a high level of Ross River virus in December,” she said.
“We normally get higher cases in February, March and April, the tail end of summer.
“Seeing them this early is a real concern.”
Ms Oakman has warned the wet conditions were likely to lead to even more people contracting the virus across the region in the coming months. She called on individuals who became infected to visit the doctor.
“The symptoms include joint aches and pains, headaches, fever, a chill and sometimes a rash,” she said.
“The symptoms can persist for weeks and even months.”
Ross River virus is spread to humans by the bite of certain types of infected female mosquitoes, which pick up the virus when feeding on the blood of infected animals.
Taking simple steps such as wearing long, loose-fitting clothing and limiting outdoor activity around dusk and dawn will help avoid the mosquitoes.
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