Dengue mozzies on the warpath in Cairns
CAIRNS is at the mercy of a little pest.
Healthy populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito have increased the likelihood that the city's dengue fever toll will rise quickly over the next few weeks.
Five new cases were confirmed over the weekend at Whitfield, the source of the latest outbreak, taking the number of confirmed cases to 12.
Two more suspected cases in Mt Sheridan, where five people have already been struck down, are pending laboratory results but authorities believe several people could unknowingly have a mild dose of the disease.
"The lethargy might not be so bad that they can't carry on with their normal days, while some people are so unwell they can't get out of bed," Queensland Health public physician Dr Richard Gair said.
Since the initial outbreak at Mt Sheridan last month, officers from the Dengue Action Response Team have been spraying properties in an effort to contain the virus.
Dr Gair said they had reported residents refusing to let them on site to spray.
"It's for everybody's benefit, not just the individual's," he said.
"It's the most effective measure, killing the mosquitoes that carry dengue.
"The insecticide used has very little toxicity to humans. It's not harmful."
A Kewarra Beach man was among the patients infected by the Whitfield outbreak, meaning there was a low risk of the disease spreading in his suburb, Dr Gair said.
Cairns Regional Council has warned that people who fail to clean potential breeding sites on their properties face on-the-spot fines of $550 for homes and $2750 for commercial premises.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito has distinct white-striped legs and often breeds in shallow pools of water near homes. For more information about dengue fever, call 1800 DENGUE (336483) or visit health.qld.gov.au
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