NSW Health warns diseases transmitted through mosquito bites

An alert warning residents of the "serious diseases" that can be transmitted through mosquito bites has been put forward by NSW Health in a bid to encourage people to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risks of being bitten.

NSW Health said it wasn't peak season for mosquitoes, but due to recent floods there had been an influx of the insects in the area.

In NSW, some types of mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as Ross River and Barmah Forest and, rarely, Murray Valley encephalitis.

Ross River fever is caused by infection with Ross River virus and Barmah Forest infection is caused by a virus of the same name.

Both have similar symptoms which include, but are not limited to, flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, headache and aches and pains in muscles and joints.

A spokesperson from NSW Health said residents could protect themselves and reduce the risk of diseases they transmit by covering-up with loose-fitting long sleeved shirts and long pants when outside.

"Use a mosquito repellent on all exposed skin areas. Reapply the repellent according to instructions or when you notice mosquitoes biting," the spokesperson said.

"Avoid putting repellent near the eyes and mouth, or over open wounds, broken skin or abrasions"

They said the most effective mosquito repellents contained Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.

"Repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) (also known as Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus) or para menthane diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection."

The spokesperson also said residents should take special care during peak mosquito biting hours, especially around dusk and dawn.

"Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen windows and doors," they said.

"And, take extra precautions when travelling overseas in areas with a high risk of serious mosquito-borne diseases."

For more information on mosquito-borne diseases visit health.nsw.gov.au.

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