Saturday, 15 March 2014

Dengue and Yellow Fever Found at Melbourne Airport

Mosquitoes that spread the potentially deadly dengue and yellow fever viruses have been found at Melbourne Airport in what appears to be a serious breach of Australia's stringent quarantine system.

The discovery has sparked fears that colonies of the mosquitoes could be spreading into the surrounding environment and travelling interstate on passenger and cargo planes. The same type of mosquitoes are also believed to have been found at airports in Adelaide and Perth.

The Department of Agriculture discovered the mosquitoes during a routine inspection of the plastic, water-filled bollards used to manage traffic in and around the airport. The mosquitoes were first detected in bollards inside the airport's baggage tunnels.

The aedes aegypti mosquito, which is a common "vector" for spreading diseases like dengue and yellow fever, are typically found in tropical and subtropical climates such as in Queensland, Africa and Asia. The symptoms of dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Its advanced but rare forms – dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome – can result in organ damage, coma and death.

Sources say an investigation is under way to discover how the mosquitoes slipped through Australia's stringent quarantine protocols. The revelations come as the federal government is pushing to cut costs in the Department of Agriculture.

Read more at The Age

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