HEALTH authorities have urged residents to protect themselves against a plague of disease-ridden mosquitoes now inhabiting areas along the Georges River.
Acting public health director for the South Western Sydney Local Health District Graham Burgess said the latest trapping around the Georges River showed a high number of the saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes vigilax.
"Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus are spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected animals," he said.
"Symptoms of infection in humans may include tiredness, rash and fever as well as sore and swollen joints.
"While these symptoms usually subside after several days some people may experience these symptoms for weeks, or even months."
Mr Burgess said there was no specific treatment for these infections.
"The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten," he said.
Simple steps to avoid being bitten include:
■Avoid being unprotected outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most common.
■When outside, cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitted clothing and covered footwear.
■Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas. Repellents containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin are best.
■Don't use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months. Instead use barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies.
■Eradicate mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as containers that hold water.
■Use flyscreens on windows and doors of houses and keep them in good order.
■When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets.
For more information on Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus infections go to: tinyurl.com/apvgx5k or tinyurl.com/bkx2c7n