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Byron Shire
April 1, 2023

SMS service tackles mozzies

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Neither Ross River Virus or Barmah Forest Virus are a condition that you want to find yourself with. Both are mosquito transmitted viruses that can leave you with ongoing health issues.

Mosquitos bring Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus amongst other things. Photo Shutterstock.

Northern Rivers councils have joined with the North Coast Public Health Unit to launch the Tackling Mosquitoes Together campaign and free text message program aimed at reducing the disease risks and nuisance of mosquitoes.

Byron Shire Council’s Team Leader Environmental Health, Enzo Picerni said that a whopping 429 cases of Ross River Virus were reported by the Northern NSW Local Health District in 2020. ‘This is the second highest number of cases on record, up from an average of 135 cases a year over the last 30 years.

Free text message program

The free text message program provides the tips and tools needed to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the growing risk of mosquito-borne disease. ‘When you join you will also receive an education pack with helpful information and mozzie repellent.

‘We know that cases of Ross River virus are most commonly reported in late summer and early autumn, so it’s important residents get on board now and know what they can do to protect themselves and the community,’ said Mr Picerni.

Authorities recommend wearing long, loose fitting clothing, especially at dawn and dusk, to keep mosquitoes at bay. Photo worldinhabit.com

The most common mosquito-borne diseases in the Northern Rivers are Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus.

They are not fatal, but they can cause serious illness and have long-term health impacts.

The new text message program encourages households to take action by reducing backyard mosquito breeding habitats, and through personal protection.

The text messages include videos, images and common mozzie myth busters and will be sent based on seasonal and weather factors, including tides and rain fall events to help remind us to take the actions to reduce risks at the most effective time.

‘If we all do our bit in our own backyard, we can make a difference and help protect the whole community,’ said Mr Picerni.

To join up, simply go to the Tackling Mosquitoes Together website and click on the SMS Program sign up: www.tacklingmosquitoestogether.com.au.

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