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Heavy rainfall and floods can lead to Ross River virus outbreaks.

Heavy rainfall and floods can lead to Ross River virus outbreaks.
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Ross River virus

Ross River virus is both the name of a virus, and the name of a condition caused by a virus. The condition is also known as Ross River fever. Symptoms include fever, rash and joint pain. Most people recover in a few weeks, but symptoms can continue for months.

What is Ross River virus?

Ross River virus is a virus that is carried by mosquitoes. It can be found anywhere in Australia, but is more common in Queensland, Northern Territory and the Kimberly region in Western Australia between January and April.

Mosquitoes live in still water. Outbreaks of infection can occur when and where mosquitoes breed. That means after heavy rainfalls, when humidity is high and when tides are high.

What causes Ross River virus?

Ross River virus is spread when the bite of an infected mosquito allows the virus to enter your bloodstream. By the time symptoms occur, the virus has spread throughout your body.

Ross River diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose Ross River virus by talking to you, examining you, and checking if you live in or have recently travelled to an area that is high risk for infection.

Blood tests can confirm a diagnosis of Ross River virus by measuring your levels of antibodies to the infection.

Ross River symptoms

Many people who have Ross River virus never develop symptoms. If symptoms appear, it can be anywhere from three days to three weeks after an infected mosquito bite.

The most common symptom is pain in the joints, mainly the fingers, toes, hands, feet, elbows and knees. Other symptoms include:

Symptoms usually ease up in 3 to 6 months. Visit your doctor if you are concerned or need relief from symptoms.

Ross River prevention

You can protect yourself against getting Ross River virus by:

  • staying indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active
  • using insect repellants
  • covering up when outside, with light coloured clothing and covered footwear
  • burning citronella candles and mosquito coils
  • covering windows, doors, vents and other entrances with screens
  • sleeping under a mosquito net.

If you make sure you don’t have pools of water around your house, that will reduce the number of mosquitoes.

Learn more about insect bites and how to prevent them.

Last reviewed: September 2015

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Ross River virus - myDr.com.au

Ross River virus infection is spread by the bites of infected female mosquitoes. Most sufferers will have a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms that often include painful joints.

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Ross River Fever | Public Health

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Ross River fever - Lab Tests Online AU

Ross River virus disease (Ross River Fever) is a common and important cause of arthritis in Australia and the South Pacific Islands. The virus was first isolated from mosquitoes trapped along the Ross River at Townsville. The infection is acquired through mosquito-bite. It may be acquired in many parts of Australia, but the highest individual risk of infection occurs in the tropical regions of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Most people infected with Ross River virus do not show clinical signs or symptoms and so these infections go unnoticed. Symptomatic infection occurs most commonly in adults from 20 to 50 years of age.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Ross River Virus

Read more on Queensland Health website

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in Western Australia

In Western Australia, mosquitoes can transmit Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Kunjin virus and the potentially fatal Murray Valley encephalitis virus. There is currently no cure or vaccine for any of these diseases. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten.

Read more on WA Health website

Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus

This sheet has been written for people affected by Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus. It provides general information to help you understand how you may be affected and what you can do to manage it. It also tells you where to find further information and advice

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Ross River Fever

Ross River fever is caused by a viral infection, transmitted through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, rash, and joint pains. Prevention relies on avoiding mosquito bites.

Read more on NSW Health website

Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus

Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) are the two most common mosquito-borne viruses in Western Australia and can cause severe symptoms in people.

Read more on WA Health website

Barmah Forest Virus

Read more on Queensland Health website

Barmah Forest virus - Lab Tests Online AU

Barmah Forest virus disease is a common and important cause of arthritis in Australia.The virus was first isolated from mosquitoes trapped in the Barmah Forest of northern Victoria. Human infectionis acquired through mosquito bite. Most people infected with the virus do not show clinical signs or symptoms and go unnoticed. Clinical disease occurs most commonly in adults from 20 to 50 years of age.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

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