A health warning has been issued after Ross River virus was detected in mosquitoes in the Gippsland area of Victoria.
The mosquito-borne disease has been found in the Gippsland Lakes area around Ninety Mile Beach.
Symptoms of Ross River virus include joint pain and stiffness, headache, fever, rash and fatigue.
Residents and visitors to the area are being advised on how to protect themselves from these type of viruses.
“The best protection from these diseases is to avoid mosquito bites,” Victoria Health said.
“Protective measures include regularly using mosquito repellent containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin, wearing long, loose-fitting clothing when outside, and ensuring accommodation, including tents, are properly fitted with mosquito nettings or screens.
“A blood test early in the illness can indicate potential acute infection and should be repeated two weeks later for confirmation.”
The health authority said that recent weather conditions are favourable to the breeding and biting by mosquitoes.
While most bites only cause swelling and irritation, “an infected mosquito can transmit potentially serious diseases”.
Symptoms of Ross River virus usually take nine days to appear after exposure – and occasionally it can be up to 21 days.
Screening all windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside is one way to prevent getting bitten.
People visiting the region are also being advised to avoid being outside unprotected, particularly during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
When outside people should cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
Sleeping under mosquito nets can also help and using “mosquito coils can be effective in small outdoor protected areas”, according to Victoria Health.
As for repellents, those containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin are the most effective.
Ones that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or p-Menthane-3.8-diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection.