BEWARE THE BITE: Since the beginning of the year 20 South Burnett residents have been diagnosed with Ross River Virus.
BEWARE THE BITE: Since the beginning of the year 20 South Burnett residents have been diagnosed with Ross River Virus. Chris Ison

Ross River Virus cases surge

CASES of Ross River Virus have surged this mosquito breeding season, with 20 cases diagnosed in the South Burnett so far this year.

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Penny Hutchinson said 75 cases have been notified in the Darling Downs region to date.

"The latest figures up to the second week of March show there have been 3,292 notifications of Ross River Virus across Queensland which is 8.1 times the five-year average," she said.

"Periodic peaks are seen in Queensland with the current peak being the second highest in the past 25 years.

"Ross River Virus is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes and causes fatigue, fever, skin rash and joint pain, which can be very debilitating."

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service warned mosquito activity was likely to continue over the coming weeks due to recent rain and ongoing heat and humidity.

Residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites to help stem the dramatic increase in cases.

  • Avoid being outside during times of heavy infestation of mosquitoes.
  • Use insect repellents and wear protective, light-coloured clothing.
  • Screen living and sleeping areas.
  • Check your home regularly for potential mosquito breeding areas and empty uncovered water containers regularly.

Contact your doctor if you show symptoms of the disease.