HEALTH authorities have started spraying mosquitoes around The Globe hotel in Rockhampton following confirmation of a case of imported Zika virus with close connections to the area.
A man tested positive for the disease today after recently returning from South America.
The man has spent time at the hotel and the mosquito that carries the disease, Aedes aegypti, has been detected near the hotel.
The virus was not acquired locally and there have been no reported cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Queensland.
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant.
Knowledge of the link between Zika and birth defects is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women.
Queensland's Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said Zika virus, like dengue, could be spread if an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites an infected person, is then itself infected, and then goes on to bite another person.
"As a precaution, spraying is currently taking place near the hotel," Dr Bennett said.
"Tomorrow we plan to initiate a public health declaration which will enable us to spray in the yards of homes and businesses within a 200 meter radius of The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill.
"Homes and businesses outside of this area are at a reduced risk because the Aedes aegypti is not known to fly very far.
"I understand this may cause some concern to pregnant women around Depot Hill. Public health officers will be conducting door knocks of the area and speaking personally with pregnant women.
"If anyone in the affected area is unwell and concerned they should visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease.
"Any pregnant woman in the affected area who is concerned should also visit their GP to discuss their options for testing.
"We are alerting the Depot Hill community to this issue and would like them to work with us in mitigating that risk."
Dr Bennett asked residents to:
Tip out any water in things like plastic containers, tarpaulins or buckets.
Store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, including work equipment, surplus materials or trailers, and keep bins covered.
- Throw out any rubbish lying around like unused or empty containers, tyres, additional materials and keep worksites tidy.
"Wearing insect repellent at all times of the day will also help reduce your risk of being bitten by a mosquito," Dr Bennett said.
Dr Bennett said residents in the affected zone were encouraged to get tested for the virus if they experience symptoms which could be related to Zika virus infection in the next 2 weeks.
The test involves a simple blood sample with results returned in a matter of days.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Zika virus can cause a short illness similar to dengue and has similar symptoms.
Most people do not even notice Zika infection. If they feel sick, symptoms could include:
- headache, sometimes with pain behind the eyes
- muscle and joint pain, especially in the hands and feet
- red rash
- non-infective conjunctivitis
The illness is usually mild and short, lasting four to seven days, and is diagnosed by having a blood test
- If not tested early in the illness, additional tests, such as urine samples, may be needed.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against Zika virus
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito, primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus..
These mosquitoes are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. In Queensland the Aedes aegypti mosquito is endemic to north Queensland and has also been found in some towns in central and south west Queensland.
The Aedes albopictus mosquito is currently confined to the Torres Strait in Australia. The Commonwealth is funding mosquito control program in this area to prevent the mosquito from establishing on mainland Australia because this mosquito thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climates.
Zika virus is currently spreading in some tropical regions of the globe.
There have been 11 overseas acquired cases of Zika virus reported in Queensland between 2014-2105.
- There have been eight of Zika virus reported to date in 2016.