Some elective surgery procedures at Coffs hospital were rescheduled as a result of the unwanted intrusion.
Some elective surgery procedures at Coffs hospital were rescheduled as a result of the unwanted intrusion.

Forget Coronavirus Coffs cops its own attack

SURGERY is back to normal at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus after an influx of insects into some of the operating theatres.

The bugs (small washing beetles, less than 10mm in length) interrupted a number of elective procedures while all urgent and emergency surgery continued unaffected.

"The recent bushfires on the Mid North Coast caused widespread loss of habitat and displaced insect colonies, some of which relocated to bushland near Coffs Harbour Health Campus," Acting General Manager Coffs Harbour Health Campus and Coordinator Coffs Clinical Network, Sara Shaughnessy said.

"After some insects began to make their way into the hospital we took immediate action, engaging a local pest control contractor while we also worked to seal possible entry points for pests.

"We are regularly updating staff about the measures being implemented to minimise further disruption to theatre activity."

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While the insect influx has been brought under control at the hospital the general public have noticed a sudden influx of mosquitoes across the region.

The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents and visitors to the Mid North Coast to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes that are expected to increase in numbers across the region.

Staff engaged a local pest control contractor while working to seal possible entry points.
Staff engaged a local pest control contractor while working to seal possible entry points.

Acting Public Health Director Greg Bell said recent rainfall and warm temperatures mean mosquito numbers are likely to increase.

"Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses can be common on the NSW Mid North Coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways," he said.

Steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:

• 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

• Clean up your backyard and remove all water-holding rubbish, including tires and containers

More information about mosquito-borne infections is available on the NSW Health website at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mosquito.aspx