Cape York tourists - watch out for bad new mozzie bites....

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 09:52
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New killer mozzie on our doorstep
By Damien Stannard
June 19, 2005
From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)


A MOSQUITO capable of spreading potentially fatal diseases is on the verge of spreading to mainland Queensland, experts warn.
The Asian tiger mosquito, which carries such diseases as dengue fever, Ross River fever and Japanese encephalitis, has been found on at least 10 inhabited islands in Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The closest is Coconut Island, about 50km from the mainland.

Because of the mosquito's ability to survive in cooler climates, it is feared it could eventually spread to Australia's southern capitals if nothing is done to check its progress.

Tropical Public Health Unit senior medical entomologist Brian Montgomery said time was running out to contain the disease-carrying insect, which is named for its distinct striped patterns and aggressive biting habits.

"If it gets to the mainland, it's a real threat," Mr Montgomery said.

"If something's going to be done it will have to be done before the next wet season."

Once on the mainland, the mosquito can breed in disused car tyres, bird-feeders, potted plants and natural water containers such as coconut husks and bromeliads.

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has been searching all container ships passing through the Torres Strait for signs of the mosquito.

"It's very active, and one which the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service is very keen to keep out," said mosquito expert Prof Brian Kay, of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

"We could expect that over a few years it could go south as far as Melbourne."

There is also a possibility the mosquito could be carried to the mainland in boats and canoes paddled by Torres Strait Islanders.

"It's a very invasive species," AQIS entomologist James Walker said.

The British Government also is taking action to avoid a feared disease outbreak from the Asian tigers.

A nationwide Mosquito Watch scheme has been launched over fears the mosquito could invade the country through container ships, particularly those carrying tyres made in Asia.

It already has been found in parts of France, Italy and Albania, and California in the United States.

Members of the public who are bitten will be asked to report the attack to health officials and keep insects they kill for analysis.

Regular checks will also be carried out on known tyre dumps in an attempt to create a "mosquito map" of Britain.

Dengue fever can be fatal in the worst cases. It can also cause vomiting, fever, joint pain and rashes.

The most recent recorded dengue fever death was on a Torres Strait Island last year – the first in 100 years.

Japanese encephalitis can affect the central nervous system, cause severe complications and death.
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Reply By: Footloose - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:43

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:43
And, AFAIK, those little buggars can bite in the daytime also.
AnswerID: 116352

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