Hoooooooooooooook, this one hits a little too close to home: health authorities in QLD are today mass-spraying mosquitoes in the yards of homes and businesses after the little buggers that carry the potentially-fatal Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, were detected in the Rockhampton area.

Spraying initially began yesterday, around The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill, where a guest who recently recently returned home from South America tested positive to the flu-like disease.

The man is the 8th person to test positive for the virus in QLD this year, but the first to cause a serious scare ‘cos of the physical presence of the carrier mosquito in the area (we must stress: the virus was *not* picked up locally). 

Queensland’s acting chief health officer Dr Sonya Bennett said it was important to issue a public health declaration with plans to spray within a 200-metre radius because Zika virus, much like dengue, can spread if a mosquito bites an infected person and then nibbles on someone else.

“As a precaution, spraying is currently taking place near the hotel,” Dr Bennett said.
“Homes and businesses outside of this area are at a reduced risk because the Aedes aegypti is not known to fly very far.”

Health officials will also be door-knocking the Rockhampton area to speak with pregnant women, who are of particular concern because the virus has been linked to serious birth defects.

“Any pregnant woman in the affected area who is concerned should also visit their GP to discuss their options for testing,” Dr Bennett said.

For the rest of us, precautions include:

  • Tipping out any water in things like plastic containers, tarpaulins or buckets.
  • Storing anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, including work equipment, surplus materials or trailers, and keep bins covered.
  • Throwing out any rubbish lying around like unused or empty containers, tyres, additional materials and keep worksites tidy.
  • Wearing insect repellent at all times of the day.

Earlier in the month, the World Health Organisation officially declared the mosquito-borne virus to be a global health emergency.

Source: 9News.com.au.

Photo: Getty / Mario Tama.