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Now a menace from the north: Ross River virus found in south-east Qld

Ross River virus has been detected in Queensland’s southeast, prompting a warning from a state Labor MP who has been living with the incurable disease for 25 years.

Feb 03, 2022, updated Feb 03, 2022
 (Photo: Brown.edu)

(Photo: Brown.edu)

Queensland Health has discovered mosquitoes in Brisbane’s north and south are carrying the virus which causes joint pain, fever, rash and fatigue.

They have urged Queenslanders to take precautions to avoid the disease, which is caused by mosquito bite, a message backed by north Queensland MP Les Walker.

The member for Mundingburra said he still suffered symptoms decades after being diagnosed.

“It lingers on and manifests into joint fatigue and arthritis. I get joint pain from time to time,” he told AAP.

“It gets worse the older you get. It’s a shocking, debilitating disease. You get quite ill.”

Symptoms occur between three and 11 days after being bitten.

Mr Walker warned the only way to prevent the disease was to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, reiterating Queensland Health advice issued on Thursday.

Queensland Health said precautions included using repellent and devices such as coils, and avoiding outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Walker said he made it a habit of adopting the preventive measures, which include regularly emptying containers holding water that can be used as breeding grounds and wearing loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and long pants.

“It becomes as natural as applying sunscreen,” he said.

Queensland Health’s Jon Darbro said the virus was detected on Thursday via a surveillance program that uses honey to trap mosquito saliva.

“Ross River virus can be transmitted to humans through the bite of several different types of mosquitoes commonly found throughout Queensland,” he said.

“By identifying the virus early through this technology, we can educate the community and potentially prevent Ross River virus infection.”

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