News

  • Increased risk Murray Valley encephalitis in our region

    The Shire of Ashburton is urging residents and community members to take additional precautions to avoid mosquito bites following continued detections of Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus.

    Shire of Ashburton President Kerry White is encouraging community members to take some simple steps to avoid mosquito bites.

    “Our Environmental Health Team have detected Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus present in Tom Price through their ongoing surveillance program”, said Councillor White.

    “Our surveillance program is carried out in conjunction with the Department of Health, PathWest and our neighbouring local governments, to provide early warning of virus activity.

    “MVE is only carried by mosquitoes and there are no specific cures or vaccines. The only effective protection against the virus is to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

    “While it is rare, the disease can be potentially fatal and there have been no reported human cases of MVE at this point. Symptoms of MVE usually appear 5 to 28 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

    “Our Environmental Health team are continuing to carrying out extensive mosquito prevention and minimisation activities in all of our towns.

    “Residents and community members are asked to assist in preventing and reducing mosquito breeding by emptying pot plant drip trays, ponds, pet bowls, old tyres and rubbish that may collect water.

    “Initial symptoms of MVE include fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness. People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice quickly. In severe cases, people may experience fits, lapse into a coma, be left with permanent brain damage or die.

    “In young children, fever might be the only early sign. Parents should see their doctor if concerned, particularly if their child experiences drowsiness, floppiness, irritability, poor feeding, or general distress.

    “If you or any member of your family are experiencing these symptoms, please seek immediate medical advice”.

    Fight the bite and avoid mosquito bites by;

    • avoiding outdoor exposure, particularly at dawn and early evening;
    • wearing protective (long, loose-fitting, light-coloured) clothing when outdoors;
    • applying an effective personal repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin to exposed skin or clothing and always follow the label instructions;
    • removing water holding containers from around the home and garden to ensure mosquitoes do not breed in your own backyard;
    • using mosquito coils and mosquito lanterns and apply barrier sprays containing bifenthrin in patio and outdoor areas around houses;
    • ensuring insect screens are installed and in good condition on houses and caravans;
    • using mosquito nets and mosquito-proof tents if sleeping outside; and
    • ensuring infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening.

    For more information about mosquito prevention visit healthywa.wa.gov.au or call the Shire of Ashburton on 08 9188 4444 or email soa@ashburton.wa.gov.au.

     


    For media information contact:

    Alison Lennon - Manager Media and Communications, Shire of Ashburton

    M: 0409 314 140 | E: alison.lennon@ashburton.wa.gov.au

    More news articles