Margaret River region declared high-risk after spike in Ross River cases

Margaret River region declared high-risk after spike in Ross River cases

A spike in the number of cases of Ross River Virus cases in the past three years has led to the Shire of Augusta of Margaret River being declared as a high-risk area for contracting the mosquito born virus.

The Department of Health made the decision to increase the risk rating for the Shire of Augusta Margaret River last week, only days before the local health officers received notification of a ninth diagnosis within the local government area for the current financial year.

The region registered six diagnoses in the 2019/20 period, and three cases in 2018/19.

Shire Environmental Heath Officer Jacinta Hall said recent rain followed by warm weather is likely to have caused increased mosquito activity.

"Recent weather events have resulted in more favourable breeding conditions for mosquitos and a subsequent increase in the risk of mosquito-borne diseases," she said.

"The best thing you can do in try to avoid exposures to mosquitoes.

"Cover up, use repellent, and clean up areas around the home that are mosquito breeding hot spots."

Ms Hall said anyone who develops symptoms such as painful and swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue and headaches after a mozzie bite should present for medical treatment.

"There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease, she said."If you are unlucky to get bitten and experience any of the above symptoms please contact your GP.

"Symptoms can be quite unpleasant and linger for months after the virus is contracted."

The Fight the Bite campaign is promoted by the Shire as an education and awareness drive to reduce instances of mosquito borne disease in the local area.

For more information on mosquito control, visit the Environmental Health section on www.amrshire.wa.gov.au or head to www.healthywa.gov.au/fightthebite.