High levels of rainfall for the month of August saw Esperance and some farming communities with water laying around a bit longer this spring. Combined with the onset of warmer weather it is likely to trigger more mosquito activity and therefore a greater risk of mosquito-borne disease.
Esperance residents and travellers are encouraged to be alert and to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes over the coming spring and summer months until water logging recedes.
There are several precautions we can take to minimise the risk including avoiding outdoor exposure at dusk and dawn, wearing protective clothing, removing any stagnant water from around the house and wear personal insect repellent.
Shire environmental health officers will be setting their mosquito traps and conducting larvae sampling in the next few weeks. The traps are set on a monthly basis to investigate mosquito numbers and the species that have the potential to carry viruses so officers can notify the community.
More than 300 of these species are found in Australia with almost 100 species of mosquitoes in Western Australia. Of the mosquito species found in WA, only 30 species are considered to be pests and/or possible carriers of viruses such as Ross River or Barmah Forest virus . Esperance mosquito population includes some species with the potential to infect people and personal care should be taken to avoid being bitten.
While mosquitoes might be a pest and some species have the potential to carry mosquito- borne diseases, mosquitoes are a vital component of our local ecosystem and require a careful approach to minimise impact on the environment while reducing the risk to the community. The Esperance mosquito management program includes treating some areas affected with mosquito larvae.
More information on mosquito borne diseases and precautionary measures can be found at: http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/fightthebite