The West

SW councils defend war on mozzies
SW councils defend war on mozzies

South West councils have hit back at claims they are not adequately controlling the spread of debilitating mosquito-borne diseases like Ross River virus.

Allegations by Australian Medical Association WA president Richard Choong that some local governments lacked the “drive, determination or money” to tackle the issue have been slammed as incorrect by South West councils.

Capel shire health services manager Colin Dent said there were three local authority groups in the South West which spent a lot of “time, money, blood, sweat and tears” on containing mosquito- borne disease risk.

“We are motivated to do the work, we have an incentive to protect residents,” Mr Dent said.

The three groups in the South West – Leschenault, Geographe and Peel – involve local governments working together on mosquito management.

The local governments of Capel and Busselton form the Geographe mosquito management group, with Bunbury, Harvey and Dardanup making up the Leschenault group.

The Peel group is made up of Mandurah, Murray and Rockingham.

Harvey shire principal environmental health officer Scott Dandridge said Dr Choong’s comments were inaccurate.

He said mosquito control officers, including himself, put their “heart and soul’’ into their work, completing extensive surveys, spraying, checking spraying was effective, all while exposing themselves to a high risk of contracting diseases.

City of Bunbury environmental health manager Sarah Upton said the interagency collaboration between Bunbury, Harvey and Dardanup was “very successful”.

“Environmental health officers from local governments assist each other with monitoring, trapping, information sharing and resource sharing,” she said.

The local governments have also dismissed claims by Dr Choong that Department of Health warnings reminding people to protect themselves from RRV were ineffective.

“We have to warn people,” Mr Dandridge said.

Since July 2012, there have been 59 cases of Ross River Virus in the South West, almost 100 fewer than 2011.

Most cases were contracted in the South West and Perth.

Six of this season’s cases were reported in the City of Bunbury, with three each from the shires of Harvey and Dardanup.

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