THE Murrumbidgee Local Health District has revealed there has been eight people diagnosed with Ross River Virus in the NSW Riverina region this month.
The eight cases were recorded up until January 14.
For the same period in 2020 there were "less than five notified cases", according to the MLHD.
Ross River fever is caused by infection with Ross River virus, one of a group of viruses called arboviruses (or arthropod-borne viruses), which are spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
The virus is spread by certain types of female mosquitoes.
Female mosquitoes feed on animals and people.
If they feed on the blood of an infected animal, the mosquito may become infected.
The virus then multiplies within the mosquito and is passed to other animals or people when the mosquito feeds again.
The number of infections tends to peak in the summer and autumn months.
The virus is not spread directly from one person to another.
Manager of infectious diseases with MLHD and the Southern NSW region, April Roberts-Witteveen, said it was important for residents to be aware of mosquitoes and the viruses they can carry, particularly at this time of year.
"There have been no arbovirus detections in sentinel chickens and no Ross River fever detections in mosquito isolates in the LHD," she said.
"To date, mosquito numbers have been down on previous seasons."
Some may disagree with that sentiment from the health department as one only needs to step outside on dusk and see mosquitoes buzzing.
However, whether numbers are up or down, residents do need to be cautious - even during the day.
Places like Mountford Park in Leeton have had people being bitten in the middle of the day.
Symptoms of Ross River fever include fever, chills, headache, aches and pains, which typically begin within three weeks of being bitten.
Tiredness and sore and swollen joints can also occur.
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A rash may appear for the first seven to 10 days of illness in some people.
Symptoms can subside after a few weeks, but some people may experience them for weeks or even months.
"Residents should see their doctor if they experience these symptoms," Ms Roberts-Witteveen said.
Residents can reduce their risk of contracting Ross River by avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes. Steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
- When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
- Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.
- Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
- Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
- When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.
- Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen windows and doors.