The Mackay Public Health Unit will assess an area in South Mackay today following the diagnosis of Zika virus in a man recently returned from Mexico.
Director of Public Health Dr Richard Gair stressed there was no immediate risk of anyone else contracting the virus.
“This afternoon we will assess an area in South Mackay to establish if there are populations of Aedes aegypti – the mosquito that could transmit Zika,” Dr Gair said.
“We will assess the risk of mosquitos transmitting the virus and will provide further advice to the public once we have done a physical inspection of the area near the man’s home,” he said.
The man contracted the virus while holiday in Mexico and was diagnosed after visiting his GP. He remains at home, and while unwell, does not need hospital treatment.
Zika virus is closely related to dengue. The illness is usually milder, but complications may include birth defects in pregnant women.
Dr Gair said it was important people did not panic as there had never been a case of locally acquired Zika virus in Australia.
“Zika can be spread by one type of mosquito which lives only around buildings and breeds in fresh water containers. If the mosquito bites a sick person, it could catch Zika virus and, after about a week, be able to spread it by biting other people,” Dr Gair said.
A mosquito control team from Townsville will travel to Mackay to help with the inspection.
Mackay residents are encouraged to take general mosquito control measures such as removing fresh water containers, which provide breeding sites for mosquitoes, from around their homes. Tip out or remove anything holding water in your yard.
To kill the mosquitoes which live in your home, the best way to do this is to spray in and around your home in dark hiding places with an ordinary surface or cockroach insect spray.
Danielle Jesser, Media and Communications Manager
Phone 0417 756 221