BEAT THE BITE: Be wary of mosquitoes as their numbers are set to increase.
BEAT THE BITE: Be wary of mosquitoes as their numbers are set to increase. AbelBrata

Health experts warn mosquito numbers are expected to boom

THE North Coast Public Health Unit has issued a reminder to residents and visitors to the Mid North Coast to protect themselves from mosquitoes, which are expected to increase in numbers across the region.

Public Health Director, Paul Corben, said recent rainfall across the region means mosquito numbers are likely to increase.

"Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the NSW north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways,” he said.

Compared to the NSW average, people living on north coast are five to eight times more likely to be infected with Barmah Forest virus.

They're also three to five times more likely to be infected with Ross River virus.

"We are heading towards a time when we see the highest numbers of people infected with Ross River or Barmah Forest virus, so protecting yourself from mosquitoes at this time of year is particularly important,” Mr Corben said.

On average, each year over the past decade about 430 people living on NSW north coast were diagnosed with either Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus.

The North Coast Public Health Unit advises to follow these steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

-When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.

-Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin.

-Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.

-Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.

-When camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.