Arbovirus Control

The North Coast Public Health Unit (NCPHU) monitors the incidence of arboviruses across the North Coast region through surveillance or laboratory notification of cases of mosquito borne diseases.
Control measures centre on inclusion of “mosquito habitat” as an environmental hazard in NSW Department of Planning’s “Settlement Planning Guidelines August 2007 Mid and Far North Coast Regional Strategies”, provision of advice to the community about practical personal and household protection measures and warnings when climatic conditions are favourable to mosquito breeding.

The NCPHU supports an active mosquito trapping program which identifies mosquito species and their relative abundance with assistance of local Councils and the NSW Arboviral Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program managed by the University of Sydney’s Medical Entomology Department located at ICPMR, Westmead Hospital.

The NCPHU monitors the severity of arboviruses throughout the North Coast region by conducting follow up investigations of cases who contract either of the below diseases.

The Arboviral diseases most common in the North Coast region are:

Ross River Fever

Ross River Virus is the most widespread arboviral disease on the North Coast accounting for about 60% of notifications over the past 20 years and 48.5% over the past 10 years.  Notifications of Ross River virus infection for the North Coast accounted for about 33% of all NSW Ross River notifications over the past 10 years.

The virus is transmitted by a number of freshwater and saltwater breeding mosquito species.  Infection may cause a flu-like illness with joint pains, rash and fever. This virus may cause incapacity and inability to work.  Some patients have rheumatic symptoms that persist for up to a year.  Ross River virus is not fatal.

For further information relating to Ross River Fever please see the NSW Health Fact Sheet on Ross River Fever.

Barmah Forest Virus

Barmah Forest Virus is transmitted by a variety of freshwater and saltwater breeding mosquito species and is growing in incidence on the North Coast.

The North Coast has the highest levels of Barmah Forest virus infection incidence in NSW.  Notifications of Barmah Forest virus infection from the North Coast accounted for about 55% of all NSW notifications of this infection over the past 10 years.

This virus may cause a rash, fever and joint problems.  The rash seems to be more obvious than in Ross River Virus and the joint pains are less of a problem.  The management and prevention of the illness is similar to Ross River Virus.

For further information on Barmah Forest Virus, please see the NSW Health Fact Sheet on Barmah Forest Virus.

For information on pests please see the NSW Health web page.

Further information on medically important pests can be found at the website of the Department of Medical Entomology at Westmead Hospital.