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Ross River virus detected in Vic mozzies

Ross River virus has been detected in mosquitoes at two regional Victoria towns, prompting a health warning over the summer holidays.

Residents and visitors to Victoria’s surf coast, Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula and northwest have been told to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses.

The updated health advice comes after Ross River virus was found in mosquitoes at Anglesea near Geelong and Mildura.

In the advisory on Thursday, Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said recent weather and water conditions in those areas had created a favourable environment for mosquito biting and breeding.

“As COVID-19 restrictions ease, there are greater opportunities to travel around Victoria and enjoy increased outdoor activity,” she wrote.

“Taking measures to avoid mosquito bites is therefore a critical step to protect against diseases.”

Authorities recommend using repellents containing picaridin or DEET, wearing long, loose-fitting clothing when outdoors, and ensuring accommodation, including tents, is properly fitted with nets or screens.

Ross River virus can cause symptoms including joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash and fatigue.

Doctors should consider the possibility of mosquito-borne disease in patients with those symptoms, particularly after travel to rural or regional Victoria.

All parts of Victoria with mosquitoes can carry a risk for Ross River virus but infection appears to rarely occur in outer metropolitan areas.

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