Deadly Zika virus threat prompts Gympie council blitz
GYMPIE Regional Council will start inspecting every rainwater tank in Goomeri in a three-month blitz from next month to stop the spread of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus, dengue fever and the chikungunya virus.
Officers from the council and Queensland Health will visit all properties in Goomeri to inspect tanks for mosquito activity and test for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a particular variety that is known to spread the dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses.
Division 6 Gympie Regional Councillor Hilary Smerdon said the inspections were important in stopping the spread of the disease within the Gympie region.
"Goomeri is the only township within the Gympie region identified as having this particular breed of mosquito," Cr Smerdon said.
"We want to work with residents to ensure their rainwater tanks have the right mosquito-proof screening and flap valves to prevent the mosquito's entry," he said.
"We may also take 300ml tank samples from unscreened or damaged water tanks to look for the Aedes aegypti mosquito".
Residents do not need to make inspection appointments, as the inspection program allows officers to enter properties at any reasonable time during the day. If the resident isn't home at the time of visiting, the officer will leave a card with inspection details.
It is a legal requirement for rainwater tanks to be screened. If a tank is unscreened or defective, council will provide advice to the resident to ensure the tank is effectively screened (which is generally minor work) to prevent breeding in the tank.
Depending upon the quality of the water in the tank, most tanks found breeding the Aedes aegypti mosquito will not need to be drained because screening prevents breeding.
Council voted for the inspection program in February in an effort to minimise breeding habitats in the region.
A copy of the resolution (M08/02/2018) is freely available for inspection on the Council website and at Council's public offices. A hard copy of the extract from the minutes may also be purchased at Council's standard rate of $0.40 per A4 (black and white) copy.
Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Council's Environmental Health Services team on 1300 307 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.