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Labor asks NSW Government to consider aerial spraying

NSW Labor has called on the Berejiklian Government to consider aerial spraying for mosquitos in response to community concerns about the possible outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases on the flood-affected North Coast.

NSW Shadow Health Minister and Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord raised the matter in State Parliament yesterday.

He asked a question without notice to NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair.

"My question without notice is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Land and Water - what steps is the State Government taking to protect the community against Ross River fever as floodwaters recede on the North Coast and will you consider comprehensive aerial spraying?" Mr Secord asked.

The recent massive floods and heavy rains on the North Coast could see mosquito breeding, particularly where there is pooled water.

It is a perfect storm for mosquito breeding, Mr Secord said.

Mosquitoes can carry disease such as Ross River, Barmah Forest Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis.

In 2016 there were 570 cases of Ross River Fever in NSW.

Ross River fever is one of a group of viruses called arboviruses (or arthropod-borne viruses), which are spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Some will have flu-like symptoms that include fever, chills, headache and aches and pains in the muscles and joints.

Some joints can become swollen, and joint stiffness may be particularly noticeable in the morning. A general feeling of being unwell, tired or weak may also occur at times during the illness; and some may experience symptoms such as joint pain and tiredness for many months.

"Mosquitoes breed very quickly. But unfortunately, the Berejiklian Government has been very slow to react," Mr Secord said.

"While symptoms from mosquito-borne diseases can be over within a few days, for older people or young children, they can experience symptoms for weeks or even months.

"I would like to see the State Government consider aerial spraying due to the scale of the massive flooding on the North Coast."