THE community is reminded to take measures to safeguard themselves and their families from potential mosquito-borne illnesses. Detections of Japanese encephalitis, Ross River Fever and Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) in humans, pigs and mosquitos in Victoria last year have prompted heightened awareness and precautionary steps ahead of the peak season.
A voluntary surveillance study is underway to detect the prevalence of MVE in Greater Shepparton and Moira communities. This initiative, conducted by the Victorian Department of Health and GV Health Public Health Unit, aims to understand the extent of MVE exposure in regional communities where people are most exposed.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable summer, GV Health Public Health Unit has provided the following tips:
1. Use mosquito repellent: Apply repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin. Reapply as directed, especially if using sunscreen simultaneously.
2. Cover up: Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and covered footwear with socks when outdoors.
3. Install fly screens: Use screens on doors and windows and repair any holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. If necessary, use mosquito nets indoors.
4. Eliminate breeding sites: Remove stagnant water from containers, old tyres, and buckets around your property where mosquitoes could breed.
5. Consider vaccination: Residents in Greater Shepparton, Moira, Strathbogie, or Benalla local government areas, seasonal workers, or those working at a piggery can get vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis. Contact your pharmacist or doctor for vaccination appointments.