Territory Stories

Katherine Times Wed 25 Apr 2018



Katherine Times Wed 25 Apr 2018


Katherine Times; NewspaperNT




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Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Katherine; Katherine (N.T.) -- Newspapers

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North Australian News for Katherine Times

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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North Australian News for Katherine Times



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NEWS WednesdayApril 25, 2018 KATHERINETIMES 5katherinetimes.com.au Another case of encephalitis diagnosed TOP End residents and visitors are urged to cover up against mosquitoes following a recent case of Murray Valley encephalitis acquired in a remote Arnhem Land community. "February to July marks the main risk period for the potentially fatal MVE, with the carrier being the common banded mosquito, Culex annulirostris," Vicki Krause, director Centre for Disease Control said. Virus testing in sentinel chickens has indicated MVE activity in Katherine in January and Kunjin virus activity in the Darwin region inMarch. While numbers of the common banded mosquito are relatively low in urban areas, elevated mosquito numbers can occur in rural Top End areas at this time of year within five kilometres of freshwater creeks, flood plains and swamps. Since reporting began in 1974, a total of 37 MVE case have been notified in the NT, with the last case reported in the Katherine region in May 2015. The current case is making a recovery in hospital. MVE is a rare disease, but can potentially be fatal. The symptoms can include severe headache, high fever, drowsiness, tremor, seizures (especially in young children) and in some cases the disease can progress to delirium, coma, permanent brain damage or death. People most at risk include campers, infants and young children residing near mosquito-breeding areas. People in remote Top End communities and anyone visiting parks and recreation areas wheremosquitoesmay be active are also at greater risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease. People should use mossie repellent and cover up remains the official advice. STANDING GUARD: Katherine's sentinel chickens are located at the research farm, where encephalitis was detected earlier in the year. Watering bans for years KATHERINE residents will have to stay on water restrictions until a fix for the towns contaminated supplies are found. The restrictions were introduced last August as an emergency measure after PFAS chemicals used in fire fighting foams at the Tindal RAAF Base were discov ered to have leaked into the towns water. Katherine, home of the big rivers,was thefirst Australian town to be on water restrictions because of chemical contamination. The two bores which supplemented supplies from the Katherine River to provide the towns drinking water remain too contaminated to use. Power and Water and the Department of Defence are still trying to find a permanent fix for the towns water, which could take more than two years. A small $4m plant rushed in from the US last year continues towork to successfully remove PFAS from a small amount of the water With the official start of the dry season only a few weeks away, and a shocking end to the wet season, Katherine residents must continue to use sprinklers only three times a week from now on. Although there is no law tomake people adhere to the restrictions, their voluntary actions helped save the town from running out of clean water last year. Officials say the towns drinking water remains safe to use. Power and Waters executive general manager of Water Services Rob Brito said the water restrictions, which help manage the quality of the towns drinking water supply, allow residents to continue using sprinklers three times a week using the odd and even house numbers system already in place. Mr Brito said the Government and Power and Water had jointly reviewed all the relevant information on water use and long-term forecasts before making the decision to continue the existing water conservationmeasures. He said the help of the Katherine community was needed as water usage has risen significantly in the past two weeks. Comment Page 10. BY CHRIS MCLENNAN