Recent heavy rainfall has seen our city invaded by flying bloodsuckers and an increase in mosquito-borne viruses.

Queensland Health and Brisbane City Council are urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne viruses after heavy rainfall in late March resulted in an increase in mosquitoes in several parts of Queensland, including Brisbane.

According to Queensland Health the Metro North region, which includes north Brisbane, Brisbane’s west and Pine Rivers District, has reported an above-average 23 cases of Ross River Virus (RRV) this year to date, nine of which have been reported in the last month alone. Barmah Forest Virus (BFV) notifications year to date are also above average for the region with 16 cases reported. Symptoms of RRV and BFV infections can include painful and swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue and headaches, which can last from weeks to months.

Senior director of the communicable diseases unit Dr Sonya Bennett says it is important for Brisbane residents to cover up and take precautions against mosquito bites, especially when camping, fishing or undertaking other outdoor activities.

“Protect yourself with clothing and repellent, avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, and screen living and sleeping areas,” Dr Bennett says. “You should always apply insect repellent according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing to avoid bites.”

Brisbane City Council’s mosquito management team performed an aerial treatment over the Easter long weekend targeting salt marsh mosquito larvae from Tinchi Tamba Wetlands on the Pine River, through Boondall Wetlands, around the airport, Pinkenba, Fisherman Island and Wynnum North, in a bid to control the rising mosquito numbers. Ground-based teams have also been hard at work spraying larvae in marsh areas, parks and reserves.

Council has urged residents to undertake some simple steps around their home to minimise mosquito numbers. Mosquitoes breed in stored water in unsealed containers and residents are encouraged to empty any containers around the home currently holding water such as old tyres, birdbaths, boats and pot plant bases.