Ross River virus infection is spread by mosquitoes
Ross River virus infection is spread by mosquitoes

Disease breakdown on the deadly mosquito

THOUGH minuscule, mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world.

This is according to the World Health Organisation, who state the insects' ability to carry and spread disease to humans causes millions of deaths every year.

They state in 2015, malaria alone caused 438,000 deaths.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, common in Central and South Queensland, carries Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, all of which can be transmitted to humans.

MOSQUITO OUTBREAK: Authorities warn the worst is yet to come

With an outbreak of mosquitoes already noticeable in Rockhampton following heavy rainfall and the current rising flood waters, we break down some of the dangers of the species.

Queensland Health offer the following information on mosquito-related diseases.


A viral disease spread by certain mosquitoes, mostly the Aedes aegypti or "dengue mosquitoes", common in tropical areas.

Towns in Central and South Queensland have dengue mosquitoes, they have had no outbreaks in recent years.

The illness lasts up to a week, and ranges from mild or unnoticed to severe or fatal cases.

Sings and symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of fever, extreme tiredness;
  • Intense headache
  • Muscle and joint pain (ankles, knees and elbows)
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, a metallic taste
  • Flushed skin on face and neck, fine skin rash as fever subsides
  • Red rash on arms and legs, itching, peeling of skin and hair loss
  • Minor bleeding (nose or gums) and heavy menstrual periods)


Australia is the only country where Barmah Forest virus has been identified.

Mosquitoes may have contracted this virus from infected marsupials, particularly possums, kangaroos and wallabies, or from infected humans.

The disease is not fatal, and all people who contract it recover.

The initial illness usually lasts three to 11 days, but some people may experience joint pain, tiredness and muscle tenderness for up to six months.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Inflamation and joint fever similar to Ross River virus, but usally for a shorter time.
  • Fever
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • painful joints
  • Joint swelling
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Skin rashes
  • Some people, especially children may not show symptoms


Ross River virus occurs widely in Australia, with the majority of cases in Central and Northern Queensland between February to May.

Everyone who will become infected will recover, however this can be prolonged in some people.

  • Symptoms include fever with joint pain and swelling
  • May be followed in one to 10 days by a raised red rash affecting the trunk and limbs
  • Joint pain usually lasts two to six weeks.
  • Some people may not show symptoms.

Most people feel unwell within three to 11 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Queensland Health advise people contact their local doctor, community health centre or nearest public health unit for assistance.

For more, see Queensland Health.

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