Mosquitoes spark health warning

GLADSTONE'S mosquito infestation has sparked a warning from authorities about the possible effect on residents' health.

Gladstone City Council has advised the Central Public Health Unit the insects could spur an increase in patients suffering from mosquito borne illnesses.

However, according to council health manager Ron Doherty, a noticeable reduction in mosquito numbers is expected soon due to a change in weather conditions.

Dr David Sloan, at the Central Public Health Unit in Rockhampton, warned local residents to cover up in the meantime to protect themselves against mosquito related infections.

'The general rule of thumb is to cover up as much as possible and reduce the number of bites,' Dr Sloan said.

He said there was a lapse in time between a mosquito infestation and an outbreak of the related diseases so residents should not become too complacent.

'In the next two to three weeks we could see an influx of Ross River or related illnesses,' he said.

The council discussed the mosquito issue at a meeting recently.

Questions were raised about the methods being used to control the pest.

Gladstone mayor Peter Corones inquired whether Gladstone could adopt a similar approach to the one used in areas such as Rockhampton where breeding areas were sprayed by air.

The method does not use fogging, but rather a similar larvae treatment material that is currently spread by hand in Gladstone.

Councillors also asked why fogging was no longer used in Gladstone and the council instead opted to treat the mosquito problem at the breeding site.

Mr Doherty said fogging was dropped because of health fears and because it was not viable.

Mr Doherty said fogging was not used as the principle method of mosquito control in other regional areas and as such Gladstone was on par with the rest of the state.

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