Health authorities have launched an urgent spraying program to combat a predicted explosion of mosquito numbers in Darwin.
A combination of high tides and rain has created ideal breeding conditions for salt-marsh mosquitoes in coastal areas across the Top End.
Northern Territory Department of Health’s Director of Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz expects the upsurge in mosquitoes to begin from next Wednesday and last at least 10 days.
Salt-marsh mosquitoes carry the viruses for the debilitating Ross River and Barmah Forest disease.
Ms Kurucz says mosquitoes have deposited high numbers of eggs in breeding areas, which she expects to hatch simultaneously.
A large-scale mosquito survey and aerial spraying project has been launched around Leanyer, Holmes Jungle, Micket Creek and Shoal Bay swamps.
Rangers will also spray areas including Casuarina Coastal Reserve, the Botanic Gardens and Charles Darwin National Park.
“However, there will still be a huge influx of mosquitoes from outside the control areas which will affect Darwin, Palmerston and rural coastal areas,” Ms Kurucz said.
“Although the high-risk period for Ross River virus does not start until December, people need to protect themselves, as the disease can be contracted all year round.”
Top End residents are advised to protect themselves from bites by covering up, using repellents and staying indoors when mosquito numbers are high.
Tips to ward off mozzies
- Avoid coastal swamps and mangrove areas
- Use mosquito-proof camping gear
- Wear light-coloured clothing with long sleeves, long trousers and socks between dusk and dawn
- Use a repellent, mosquito coils and lanterns, and barrier sprays
- Ensure children and animals are adequately protected from bites.