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Australians to be hit with the Zika Virus Crisis

Pressrelease 02-02-2016

Are Australians well prepared to face yet another infectious disease calamity? The Zika virus has entered Australia and has been rapidly spreading around the world. There are over 300 species of mosquitoes within Australia and many serious human diseases are transmitted through these insects.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Zika virus a global health emergency.
  • Cairns and Townsville are at high risk of contracting the virus.
  • Zika virus is believed to have originated from South America and the South Pacific. Travellers who recently returned from those destinations are urged to check for symptoms and visit a health expert.
  • Get tips on how to avoid the mosquitoes to protect your family.

Many Australians underestimate the harm inflicted by mosquitoes, unaware that they are the cause of most deaths on the planet. Deadly diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Encephalitis are carried by mosquitoes and can be transferred to humans by a simple bite.

WHO has declared the Zika virus a global health emergency. Flick Anticimex would like to take this opportunity to urge the public to take proper precautions around the home and workplace. Cairns and Townsville is at extremely high risk of a significant breakout of the Zika virus due to local Australian mosquito species.

Zika is a mosquito-borne flavivirus which scientists claim to be related to the Dengue and Yellow Fever.  Symptoms include rashes, headaches, fever and acute joint pain.  If you have recently returned from travels in South America or the South Pacific Islands, it is imperative that you visit a doctor to run diagnostic tests.  Although not yet scientifically proven, experts suggest there is a possibility that this virus can cause birth defects such as microcephaly (abnormal smallness of heads and underdeveloped brains).  Pregnant women should be extra cautious around mosquitoes and be equipped with means of fending off these insects. Pest infestations and infectious diseases must be treated without delay to ensure the safety of you and your family. Learn more about how to avoid mosquitoes from Flick Anticimex’s blog.

Gary Stephenson, Flick Anticimex Pacific Region Pest Technical Manager, states “The two mosquito species which carry the Zika Virus are the ones which also carry the Dengue Fever Virus.  Both mozzie species are “notifiable pests”, meaning that a single sighting should be reported to the responsible government instrumentality, such as the Department of Primary Industries. Those departments subsequently instigate and oversee eradication programs."

The mozzies species Aedes egypti (most prominent) & Aedes albopictus carry the Zika Virus. 

  • Both species are exotic (not native to Australia).  Aedes egypti is established in northern QLD.
  • They are both termed “domestic mosquitoes” relating to their habit of breeding in containers, tins, buckets, rainwater guttering, water tanks, birdbaths, hollow plants (like bromeliards) around human habitats.  Both also frequent hollows in trees, rock pools and so on.
  • They bite during both daylight and night time.  
  • Egypti only travels to about 300 metres from its habitat and albopictus up to a kilometre.
  • These mozzie species are not readily attracted to UV light units (mozzie zappers) unlike many other species.

Everyone should be vigilant, minimise mozzie breeding sites in their local environments and wear mozzie repellent eg. DEET or Picaridin based repellent products.

The United Nations public health agency has pushed for diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines to be developed to fight the virus. In the meantime, families and businesses should consider other the aid of pest control companies to treat mosquito-infested premises. Contact your local pest management expert for safe and effective pest control services and treatments.

Updated: 13-05-2016

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