Mosquito Borne Disease

There are more than 220 species of mosquito found in Queensland, approximately 36 of these species have been commonly identified in the Rockhampton region, some of which are capable of transmitting diseases to humans. These diseases include:

  • Dengue fever
  • Ross River fever
  • Barmah Forest virus

Heartworm in dogs is also transmitted by mosquitoes.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a viral illness spread by the dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) which has previously bitten a person infected with the dengue virus. It cannot be passed directly between humans

After being bitten by a dengue mosquito infected with the dengue virus, it usually takes between 3 to 14 days to start experiencing symptoms. During this time you are able to pass the virus on to other dengue mosquitoes, so if a dengue mosquito bites you it can catch the virus and go on to infect other people. That is why it is very important to visit a doctor as soon as you feel unwell.

Dengue fever has many symptoms, and people usually experience a combination of symptoms. Common symptoms of dengue fever are:

  • sudden fever and extreme tiredness
  • intense headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain
  • a metallic taste in the mouth
  • red or macular (small, flat red spots) rash occurs in half of cases
  • minor bleeding from nose and gums 

Most symptoms last up to a week and in some cases the fever may return for another 2-3 days. Dengue fever symptoms affect everyone differently. They can range from mild, and can even go unnoticed (often in children), to very severe and potentially fatal.

Catching different types of dengue, even years apart, increases the risk of developing severe dengue. Severe dengue causes bleeding and shock, and can be life threatening. There have been deaths in Queensland from severe dengue.

If you or anyone in your family have any symptoms of dengue, please see a doctor immediately.

Ross River Virus

Ross River virus infection cannot be spread from human to human, it is spread from animals to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito including the mosquitoes Culex annulirostris (breeds in freshwater), Aedes vigilax (breeds in salt water) and Aedes notoscriptus (breeds in artificial and natural containers).

Ross River virus causes inflammation and pain in multiple joints. The symptoms may include fever with joint pain and swelling which may then be followed in one to ten days by a raised red rash affecting mainly the trunk and limbs.  The rash usually lasts for one to ten days and may or may not be accompanied by a fever.  The joint pain can be severe and usually lasts two to six weeks.  Some people, especially children, may become infected without showing any symptoms.

Most people become unwell within three to 11 days after being bitten by an infectious mosquito.  The time taken to recover from the virus varies between people and can last several months.

Barmah Forest Virus

Barmah Forest virus is the name given to a virus that is carried by mosquitoes. The mosquito may have contracted the virus from infected marsupials particularly possums, kangaroos and wallabies or from infected humans. It cannot be passed directly between humans.

Barmah Forest virus causes inflammation and joint pain and has similar symptoms to Ross River virus infection, but usually lasts for a shorter duration.  Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, painful joints, joint swelling, muscle tenderness, and skin rashes. Some people, especially children, may become infected without showing any symptoms.

Most people become unwell within three to 11 days after being bitten by an infectious mosquito.