Residents and visitors across the Goulburn Valley are being urged to protect themselves, family members and pets from mosquito bites this summer.
Moira Shire Council’s community general manager Sally Rice said when last year’s floodwaters spread across the shire, an increase in mosquito numbers led to a spike in mosquito-borne diseases including Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses.
‘‘Mosquito bites can do more than cause an annoying itch,’’ she said.
‘‘Cases are rare, but mosquitoes can transmit Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses and Murray Valley Encephalitis.’’
Ms Rice said that by taking some simple precautions, residents could reduce their and their pets’ risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease.
‘‘Mosquitoes are known to carry viruses that affect certain animals, so talk with your vet or rural supply store for ideas on how to reduce the risk of infection,’’ she said.
Ms Rice said the Moira council used larvicide in ponding water in urban areas to help control the number of mosquitoes and also did a larvae survey and species identification.
‘‘Traps across the shire are set weekly and the trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources AgriBio Centre at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, where they are identified and checked to determine if any of the mosquitoes are carrying viruses,’’ she said.