The recent floods and pooling waters across Victoria have created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading the Government to issue a new warning on both Japanese Encephalitis (JEV) and Murray Valley Encephalitis; serious mosquito-borne diseases spread by infected insects.
Mosquitoes love to breed in wet and marshy conditions, as they lay their eggs in puddles, pots or other areas where water has collected. The eggs then hatch into wriggling larvae that become an infestation.
What is the current Government advice?
As of 1 February 2023, the Victorian Government has designated certain areas of the state as high-risk for both JEV and Murray Valley Encephalitis infections, as they have the right environmental conditions and the right mosquito vector for transmission.
High-risk local government areas (LGAs) for MVE and JEV in particular include:
Benalla, Buloke, Campaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Indigo, Loddon, Mildura, Moira, Northern Grampians Shire, Strathbogie, Swan Hill, Wangaratta, West Wimmera, Wodonga, and Yarriambiack.
Education centres advised to implement mosquito treatments
The Victorian Department of Health has issued advice to the Department of Education that schools, early childhood and care centres in high-risk Victorian LGAs should implement a range of mosquito management strategies to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases this season.
Education settings have been advised to arrange for the application of residual barrier treatments to their property as soon as possible. This applies to relevant places where mosquitoes rest, e.g: external surfaces of buildings, sheds, vegetation, shade cloths, fences, fishponds and other outdoor infrastructure.
Special attention should be paid to the treatment of areas that are highly attractive to mosquitoes, e.g.: particular hedges or shrubs that when disturbed cause a large number of flying insects to emerge into the air.
Re-application may be required depending on the product used, the weather and the further detection of these viruses in mosquito populations.
Hospitality can also suffer from mosquito infestations
Hospitality, retail and other businesses also need to be aware of the increase in mozzies, too. Particularly, those near waterways or in rural areas. Mosquitos don’t just carry diseases, they are annoying and bad for business.
Cafes or restaurants near water can lose business if they have mosquitoes interrupting their dining experience. Other businesses can lose customers if their attention is diverted by a buzzing mozzie.
What is the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)?
Japanese Encephalitis, like Ross River Virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis, is a disease found in Australia that is spread to humans by mosquito bites.
Less than one percent of people infected with Japanese Encephalitis will develop symptoms. However, they can be very serious. Symptoms range from a fever and headaches to disorientation, tremors, coma and seizures. In severe cases, complications can occur in the brain or spine and lead to death.
Aussies usually most at risk are those working or living near piggeries or waterways, as pigs and birds can be infected. You can’t catch the disease from eating or patting these animals, only through mosquitoes biting them and then biting you. Heavy rainfall and stagnant water also heighten risk.
How can Japanese Encephalitis be controlled?
Controlling mosquitoes significantly reduces the risk of catching Japanese encephalitis or any of the other mosquito-borne diseases.
Wearing long sleeves and pants with insect repellent to protect your body is important when spending a long time outdoors. Draining stagnant pools of water is also essential. To increase the likehood of controlling the risk, treat areas using longer-term residual insecticides including bifenthrin, alpha-cypermathrin and lambda-cypermthrin.
Give mosquitoes the Flick with a mosquito management treatment
Our experienced Flick technicians can administer a mosquito and midge treatment that targets the adult insects to reduce and control their activity. Due to the larger droplet size, the treatment we use binds to surfaces quickly and effectively reducing any potential health hazard to children and animals.
This treatment is extremely effective and can last anywhere up to 3 months. Results will vary depending on environmental, climatic and site conditions. Top-up treatments are recommended. To protect bees, flowering plants are excluded.
Be vigilant. Even if you can’t see them, don’t presume mosquitoes aren’t there! Mozzies can carry diseases other than Japanese Encephalitis Virus, such as Ross River Virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis.
Protect your community for mosquito-borne diseases and book a mosquito treatment today.