We could be in for more mosquitoes than previous summers due to the weather.
Just last week the Bureau of Meteorology declared La Niña had developed in the Pacific Ocean.
La Niña is a climate phenomenon and typically brings cooler temperatures in southern parts of Australia and warmer overnight temperatures in the north.
It also means we could see more rain. The last time Australia experienced La Niña 2010-2011 saw Queensland lashed by floods.
Models suggest it could be around until at least the end of 2020, according to BOM.
While rain will be welcome in some areas it could mean more mosquitoes.
Dr Cameron Webb, a clinical associate professor with the University of Sydney, wrote in an article for The Conversation explaining how wet weather is perfect for mozzies and mosquito-borne diseases.
Dr Webb wrote mosquitoes lay their eggs on still or stagnant water. In this case, due to more rain we should see more puddles and more filled gutters for the mozzies to produce offspring in.
“If the water dries up, they die. But the more rain we get, the more opportunities for mosquitoes to multiply,” Dr Webb wrote.
Viruses associated with mosquitoes
Dr Webb added while Australia is free of major outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses people still experience Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus and the “potentially fatal” Murray Valley encephalitis virus.
He also pointed out “extensive” inland flooding has caused outbreaks of these viruses too including Victoria’s Ross River virus outbreak in 2016-2017, southeast Queensland’s Ross River outbreak in 2014-2015 after seasonal rainfall, and an outbreak of Murray Valley encaphalitis during Australia’s last La Niña event.
How to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes
Dr Webb advises the best way is to use repellent but it’s also important to empty out any water-filled containers in backyards or cover them up.
Authorities often monitor possible mosquito breeding grounds too in case there are outbreaks of viruses.
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