Queensland health authorities have mounted a campaign to wipe out a breed of mosquito in the town of Rockhampton after a man staying in a local hotel tested positive for the .
officers sprayed properties within a 200m radius of the Globe Hotel in Depot Hill on Thursday after issuing a “public health declaration” in a bid to head off any possible spread of the virus via the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The hotel was sprayed on Wednesday after tests confirmed that a 50-year-old fly-in, fly-out worker had the virus, which was believed to have been contracted on a recent work stint in South America.
It is the this year but the first in an area where the Aedes aegypti is present.
State government health officers are travelling through the area around the hotel to alert pregnant women whose children may suffer birth defects if infected.
acting chief health officer, Dr Sonya Bennett, said the moves were a precaution as the Aedes aegypti mosquito was capable of spreading Zika after biting an infected person.
The Queensland health minister, Cameron Dick, told parliament on Thursday it was “possible there may be a small number of infected mosquitos present in the area following this recent case”.
“I want to be clear – there is no evidence the Zika virus is in mosquitos in the area. We want it to stay that way,” Dick said.
Rockhampton doctor Geoff Cashion told that the 50-year-old man had attended his clinic on Monday complaining of muscle aches, fever and a rash and revealed that he had come into contact with others infected with Zika in South America.
“When I talked to him he mentioned he had been in South America and that was where he was working and he mentioned he had been in contact with people who had Zika virus, and that got me quite concerned,” Cashion said.
“I did a bit of research and it was fairly obvious that the rash he had was quite common with Zika.”
Bennet said she understood the moves by health officials “may cause some concern to pregnant women around Depot Hill”.
“Our message to them is to ensure there are no breeding areas for the mosquito around their homes, to use mosquito surface spray inside their homes and to use mosquito repellent containing Deet on their bodies.”
Bennett urged anyone in the area who felt unwell to see a doctor to discuss testing for the disease.
Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a serious brain defect which leaves newborns with a below-average-sized head.
Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, according to the US-based .