A seemingly innocuous mosquito bit has left a Perth mother in agony and unable to walk for long periods.
In March 2020, Megan Newman was building a shed for her daughter’s horses on her property at Karnup on Perth’s southern fringe when she was attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.
One of the many bites she sustained would leave her crippled for a month.
Perth mother, Megan Newman (pictured) was bitten in March 2020 by one bad mosquito that would give her not one, but two viruses
‘I got a really bad headache and was extremely hot and cold like nothing I’ve ever felt before,’ Ms Newman told Nine News.
In a matter of days, she had come down ‘like a ton of bricks.’
‘I had the sweats, was in and out of sleep and just couldn’t get up,’ she said.
‘My feet, my legs and up to my hips were in absolute agony.’
Ms Newman’s symptoms set in just as coronavirus began to spread in Australia, but her doctor knew the mosquito bites were the more likely cause.
He had her tested for Ross River Fever, a debilitating virus carried by mosquitoes.
After two rounds of testing, results came back positive that she not only had the Ross River Fever but also Barmah Forrest Virus which is also carried by mosquitoes.
Ms Newman contracted Ross River Fever and Barmah Forrest Virus after she was bitten by a mosquito at her Karnup property in Perth (pictured)
Six more of Ms Newman’s community also contacted Ross River fever, a virus that affects about 5000 Australians every year.
‘The local Facebook page starting going off with people being diagnosed with Ross River Fever,’ Ms Newman said.
Some of them had the virus for eight months and though Ms Newman’s illness had not be quite so sustained, her distressing experience has educated her about how threatening some mosquito bites are.
‘It seems like something you could get living in the jungle in South East Asia, not Australia. I didn’t realise you could get these hotspots of infection here,’ she told Nine News.
While normally a disease associated with tropical and sub-tropical regions, there had been outbreaks of Ross River in the temperate southern parts of WA and also in SA.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Annaliese van Diemen has since issued a warning for both diseases.
Experts suspect that the unique La Nina weather Australia will only welcome more outbreaks of this mosquito-borne virus.
Ms Newman became quickly ill in a matter of days experiencing a terrible headache, extreme fever as well as muscle pains. Pictured: mosquito