‘Hideous’: Ross River cases triple on Coast

THE number of Ross River virus cases on the Gold Coast has already exceeded last year's total figure - and it is because more people are at home or in the garden due to the coronavirus pandemic

In just five months, the city has recorded 174 cases of the virus. That is triple the 64 cases for the same time last year and more than the 119 posted for all of 2019.

Hinterland councillor Glenn Tozer said he was told in a meeting with Queensland Health officials in May that the numbers had skyrocketed because of the social and job restrictions relating to COVID-19.

Queensland Health declined to provide a breakdown of the cases per suburb so "to maintain patient confidentiality".

Ross River virus can cause fever, rash, inflammation and pain in joints and muscles.

Maggie Williams, 80, said she contracted Ross River virus in March.

"It's a hideous thing that doesn't go away," she told the Bulletin.

Glenn Tozer. Picture: Jerad Williams
Glenn Tozer. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

"Doctors can't help you. They give you anti-inflammatories but they're not much help.

"The doctor told me I'll probably have it for three months to one year."

Another woman, also from Mudgeeraba, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I got bitten in the backyard and two of the bites were really different.

"They came up like yellow welts and then they busted and this yellow jelly stuff came out.

"A few days after (the bites) I started to feel really unwell.

"I got the (mosquito infection) Barmah Forest virus as well."

The woman said she had been experiencing pain, tiredness and shortness of breath since being bitten on March 1.

"In the morning I get up and all the knuckles on my hands are really sore. I can't walk very far anymore without becoming exhausted and out of breath.

"I rang the council before Easter and said we have really bad mosquito issues.

"I feel so frustrated. Council isn't listening."

The Bulletin reported in May five people living within 500m of each other had contracted the virus within Mudgeeraba.

Mudgeeraba councillor Glenn Tozer said he had a meeting with Queensland Health two weeks ago regarding the Ross River virus.

"There are no more mosquitoes carrying the Ross River virus than before, but there are more people being near them at home in their garden," he said.

Queensland Health would not provide a breakdown per suburb so "to maintain patient confidentiality".

"While this is higher than the total number of Ross River virus cases in 2019, this year's

cases have so far been distributed normally across the city's suburbs," a spokeswoman said.

"The increase is in-line with a rise in Ross River virus cases across Queensland, meaning the rise is not specific to the Gold Coast region.

The number of cases has almost tripled.
The number of cases has almost tripled.

"Rain earlier this year led to minor flooding, resulting in elevated numbers of mosquitoes."

A Gold Coast City Council spokeswoman said: "The City checks and treats known and potential mosquito breeding sites throughout the public land at Mudgeeraba."

The last significant outbreak on the Gold Coast was in 2015 when nearly 700 people contracted the disease.

Residents were urged to help prevent mosquitoes breeding in their yards by emptying containers that hold water following rainfall.

 

Originally published as 'Hideous': Ross River cases triple on Coast