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Zika case confirmed in Central Queensland

WARNING: An imported case of Zika virus has been confirmed in a Bowen resident.
WARNING: An imported case of Zika virus has been confirmed in a Bowen resident.

AN IMPORTED case of the now infamous Zika virus has been confirmed in Bowen.

Townsville Public Heath Unit director Dr Steven Donohue said the Bowen resident had tested positive for the virus after returning from overseas travel, stressing that there is no outbreak at this stage.

The resident is in Townsville Hospital in a stable condition.

In the wake of the discovery, Bowen locals are being urged to kill mosquitoes in and around their homes.

"Our key message to all Bowen residents is to immediately take steps to get rid of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at home," Dr Donohue said.

"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.

"Tip out or remove anything holding water in your yard."
 

Three-month-old Daniel, who was born with microcephaly, undergoes physical therapy in Brazil. Officials strongly suspect the Zika virus, which first appeared in the country last year, is to blame.
Three-month-old Daniel, who was born with microcephaly, undergoes physical therapy in Brazil. Officials strongly suspect the Zika virus, which first appeared in the country last year, is to blame. AP Photo

Vector control teams were deployed to Bowen on Sunday, finding a number of pockets of Aedes aegypti, with further sprays planned.

Dr Donohue said the risk of transmission is low as the resident was only home for a few days while unwell and Zika cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.

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.

Zika virus is closely related to dengue.

The illness is usually milder, but complications may include birth defects in pregnant women.

Dr Donohue said Dengue/Zika mosquitoes only bred around homes and in urban areas, not in swamps or creeks.

Tips for reducing mosquito numbers:

Once a week check yards for mosquito breeding. Tip out, flush out, throw away or dry-store anything holding water in which mosquitoes can breed.

Kill Dengue/Zika mosquitoes in and around your home. Use ordinary surface spray in dark hiding places, under and behind furniture, curtains and inside cupboards. Repeat the spray every six weeks. There are precautions for fish tanks, pets, and sensitive people on the label.

Also use mozzie zappers and coils around the house to kill dengue mosquitoes and avoid being bitten.

If a team of professionals from Queensland Health arrive and offer to spray your place, let them do so.

More information about Zika virus and a spray video can be found at: health.qld.gov.au/zika.

Topics:  airlie beach bowen virus whitsundays zika


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