Mozzie viruses


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Two-time Logie winner, Barbie Rogers, is among the first Australians to fall victim to a deadly tropical virus caused by mosquito bites.

Australia's first game show queen and winner of two Logies, Barbie was diagnosed with Chikungunyah in March after a holiday in Bali.

According to the 72-year-old, an Indonesian doctor diagnosed her with the mosquito borne viral disease almost immediately after a reddish blue rash appeared on her body.

Chikungunyah, originally from Africa, is now carried by the Asian Tiger Mosquito and is spread throughout South East Asia.

The virus has already killed 200 people, and left 6.5 million sick for months.

Ms Rogers says the pain from the viral disease was unbearable.

"The pain was so blinding, there was no way you could get any relief from it. I was virtually at times crawling across the floor, not knowing how to ease up the pain," Ms Rogers said.

Professor Andreas Subrbier from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research says he's concerned that Chikungunyah will arrive in Australia.

"We're lucky we don't have it here, but most people would say it's only a matter of time before it gets established here," Professor Subrbier said.

The virus has already reached Papua New Guinea affecting tens of thousands.

Laboratory testing has proven that if some local Australian mosquitoes bite a person who's recently returned from overseas with a Chikungunyah infection, the local mosquito is then capable of transmitting and spreading the disease.

Dr Jonathan Darbo, an entomologist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, says the Tiger Mosquito is a persistent biter.

"The mosquito can be carried by people in containers, potted plants, and used tyres. It's usually people moving objects around that spreads the mosquitoes around," Dr Darbo said.

The odd Asian Tiger Mosquito has been detected 15 times in our ports on overseas cargo in the past three years.

Experts advise everyone to wear insect repellant, long sleeves and pants at dusk. They also advise that people should not leave containers of water lying around their house.