MOSQUITOES infected with both Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest viruses have been detected on the mid-north coast and residents are being urged to take the necessary precautions to prevent being bitten.
Despite little rain over summer, mosquito breeding continues with the North Coast Public Health Unit recording more than 500 cases of the debilitating viruses each year.
Senior Environmental Health Officer Kerryn Lawrence said that while it has been a dry summer, recent mosquito trapping has detected mosquitoes infected with both Ross River and Barmah Forest Viruses in local traps.
"It is expected that as the temperature cools the mosquito numbers will start to fall, however, at present mosquito breeding is ongoing and the risk of being bitten is high," Mrs Lawrence said.
Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the NSW north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways.
The viruses are spread by mosquitoes that feed on animals harbouring the infection.
Those infected with either virus will experience symptoms including fever, skin rash, painful joints and tiredness. It can appear as a mild illness for a few days, or linger as aching joints and lethargy for many months.
Compared to the NSW average, people living on north coast are five to eight times more likely to be infected with Barmah Forest virus and three to five times more likely to be infected with Ross River virus.
"During autumn each year we see the highest numbers of people infected with Ross River or Barmah Forest virus, so protecting yourself from mosquitoes at this time of year is particularly important," Mrs Lawrence added.