Calls to guard against mozzie bites

November 11, 2023 BY

Prevention: Health authorities are urging people at risk of mosquito bites to get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis. Photo: FILE

WITH summer just around the corner the risk of being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitos can increase. 

As a result, health authorities have issued a call for people to take protective measures such as getting the Japanese encephalitis vaccination. 

“The Loddon Mallee is a high-risk region for mosquito diseases as evidenced by the circulation of Murray Valley encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis over the last two years,” said Dr Naveen Tenneti from Bendigo Health’s Loddon Mallee Public Health Unit. 

“For some people, infection with these viruses can cause severe disease and so it is critical we take action to reduce risk. 

“It is important to note the vaccine will only protect you against Japanese encephalitis.” 

Dr Tenneti urged residents to see where they can get vaccinated by contacting either their doctor or the Loddon Mallee Public Health Unit website. 

People in the area can get the vaccination if they live or work in high-risk local government areas, including the City of Greater Bendigo and often spend time outside, particularly around pigs. 

To reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitos, health authorities have advised of several actions can be taken. 

These include using repellent, getting rid of stagnant water close to living areas, wearing long, loose clothing, reducing time spent around places with lots of mosquitos, especially in at dusk and dawn, and using mosquito nets. 

Diseases caried by mosquitos are usually mild but can sometimes lead to long-term health issues.   

Mild symptoms for Japanese encephalitis include fever and a headache, while more severe symptoms include neck or back stiffness, disorientation, seizures, vomiting, light sensitivity, and convulsions. 

More information can be found on via the State Government’s Better Health website.