Seventeen higher risk and flood-affected councils across rural Victoria will receive a $4.6 million funding boost from the Victorian Government to combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Heavy rainfall and floods across the state have led to ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes that can spread disease. High numbers of mosquitoes are likely to continue over the summer months across rural Victoria.
Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, and Murray Valley Encephalitis, which are all serious, infectious and potentially life-threatening in the case of Murray Valley Encephalitis.
With Ross River virus detected in mosquitoes trapped in northern Victoria, we’re taking action to reduce mosquito numbers by expanding our annual surveillance and mosquito management activities and community education programs.
As part of this package of support, ten rural councils will receive funding for the first time to reduce mosquito breeding. These include Indigo, Wangaratta, Buloke, Loddon, Mount Alexander, Greater Bendigo, West Wimmera, Horsham, Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack.
Meanwhile, seven councils with a longstanding role in mosquito control that are receiving additional funding include Campaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Shepparton, Mildura, Moira, Swan Hill and Wodonga.
Activities at these councils will range from trapping mosquitoes to identifying types and estimate numbers, testing sentinel chickens, using control agents such as larvicides to stop mosquito larvae from growing and fogging where mosquito numbers are excessive.
On top of this we’re increasing our sentinel chicken flocks to detect early signs of mosquito-borne disease, and introducing a new app and web portal for selected councils to monitor mosquito hot spots and provide real time data.
We’re also bringing in faster testing of trapped mosquitoes for diseases and strengthening investigation of illness in horses that may have been caused by the same viruses that affect people.