When is mosquito season in Australia?
Mosquitoes are most active during the summer months. However, breeding starts during spring and autumn. Depending on your location, for example, in the northern parts of Australia, mosquitoes are active throughout the year.
It is also possible for mosquitoes to begin popping up earlier than usual if, for example, the larvae are in diapause, a period of suspended development in their life cycle.
In general, the extent of a mosquito infestation can be influenced by a several conditions, including heavy rainfall or flooding during spring, followed by high temperatures. This creates the ideal conditions for mosquito attacks, especially in the coastal areas.
What are mosquito-borne diseases?
Mosquitoes are known as notorious killers, responsible for killing millions of people in the past and until today. One bite can transmit viruses to people that can cause severe illnesses. These illnesses are:
Barmah Forest virus
This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes from animals to humans. It only occurs in Australia, particularly around inland waterways and coastal regions. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, tiredness, joint pains, swollen joints, muscle tenderness, rashes and swollen lymph glands. Fortunately, people who contract this disease can recover.
The virus is carried by an infected female Aedes mosquito, the same species that carries the viruses that cause dengue, yellow fever, and Zika virus. It is prevalent in Africa, Asia and the Western Pacific.
The mosquitoes in Australia are not infected with the Chikungunya virus, though there are Aedes mosquitoes in north Queensland, the Torres Strait, and some area in central and southern Queensland. The common symptoms are joint pain and fever that may last for a couple of weeks and then disappears altogether without treatment.
Dengue is similar to a serious case of the flu. It mostly occurs in tropical and sub-tropical countries such as Africa, Asia and South America.
Australia doesn’t have the mosquito that carries this virus, but outbreaks occur in North Queensland every year because of a person who contracts the virus while travelling abroad, who is then bitten by a mosquito here and that mosquito becomes infected and bites others.
The common symptoms of dengue fever are fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, swollen glands, bleeding nose or gums and rash. Most people with dengue fever recover in a week, but the illness can sometimes develop into serious and/or fatal one.
Also known as lymphatic filariasis, elephantiasis affects the lymph system and can cause arms and legs to swell, and the skin to turn hard and thick like an elephant’s. It is common in tropical areas, affecting mostly low-income people. The disease doesn’t occur in Australia.
Malaria is contracted by a mosquito that is infected by parasites in the plasmodium family. Symptoms include fever, excessive sweating, headaches, aching joints, nausea or stomach ache, and diarrhea or vomiting. Malaria can be fatal if not treated properly.
Murray Valley Encephalitis
This disease is serious but rare. It occurs mostly in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Many people exhibit no symptoms, but some may experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Murray Valley encephalitis can lead to death in a small number of people.
Ross River Virus
Ross River Virus occurs throughout Australia, but is more common in the tropical areas of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is more likely to occur between February and May, particularly following a severe rainfall or high tides.
An infected person may have joint pain, fever and rash. The illness disappears in a few weeks, but symptoms may persist for months.
Yellow can become severe with bleeding from the organs and even death. It is called yellow fever because the patient can sometimes turn yellow (jaundice). There has been no case of yellow fever in Australia. However, you need to be vaccinated if you plan to travel in some parts of Africa, Central or South America.
Symptoms, which can appear 3 to 6 days after being bitten by a mosquito, include fever, chills, body aches, back pain, vomiting, nausea, severe headache, fatigue and weakness. Severe symptoms include high fever, jaundice, bleeding, shock and organ failure.
Zika virus can be transmitted through a mosquito bite or sexually. Most people who are infected with Zika virus don’t experience symptoms. It is rare for the patient to feel flu-like symptoms, such as fever, severe headache, joint pain, pink eye and muscle or bone pain.