Mosquitoes are causing distress in urban Dubbo and paddocks within the boundaries of the Local Land Services Central West following heavy rain and flooding.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that swatting has become an everyday activity for some residents of Dubbo who in late September were warned by the Western NSW Local Health District of the health threat posed by mosquito-borne viruses.
On properties between Coonamble and Grenfell, and Nyngan and Gilgandra, stock are at risk of Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF), referred to as three day sickness, because of “increased biting insect populations”.
The health district’s Dr Therese Jones has told of increased mosquito breeding in wet weather, “particularly where there is pooled water”.
She said mosquitoes could carry diseases such as Ross River, Barmah Forest Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis.
“These infections can cause symptoms ranging from tiredness, rash, fever, and sore or swollen joints,” she said.
“Symptoms usually resolve within several days but some people may experience symptoms for weeks or even months.
“Infection with Murray Valley Encephalitis can cause more severe symptoms such as encephalitis.”
Dr Jones suggested multiple ways of preventing mosquito bites.
They included the installation of screens, sleeping under a net, and using repellent and covering up if outside at dawn or dusk.
Local Land Services Central West regional veterinarian Dr Jillian Kelly is urging graziers to look out for symptoms of three day sickness and contact their district veterinarian should they suspect infection.
“Three day sickness may become an issue in the next few months,” the veterinarian said.
Dr Kelly recommended vaccinating of high-value animals before “BEF occurs”.
She said the disease could have severe economic and production consequences for producers through loss of animal condition, reduced fertility in bulls, reduced milk production, marketing delays and treatment costs.