↑ Return to News

Ross River Virus

Due to the recent downpours of rain throughout south-east Queensland over the past months, there has been a rapid increase of people diagnosed with Ross River virus. It is important to understand what the virus is and how it is transmitted to humans so we can prevent it. Below is an article to help spread the awareness of Ross River virus.

What Is Ross River Virus?

mosquito-bitingThere are many mosquito-borne diseases that affect humans. You might have heard about malaria, dengue, and yellow fever, but have you heard about Ross River virus infection? It is one of the most commonly reported mosquito-borne diseases in Australia. Illness caused by the Ross River virus is also known as Ross River fever.. Even though the spread of this virus is mainly in rural and coastal regions of Australia, it is increasingly becoming an urban concern. In Australia alone, Ross River virus claims around 4000 victims each year. It has been reported that generally cases of Ross River virus infection occur between the months of February and May. However, in certain areas of north and central Queensland, cases of the virus infection occur throughout the year. Even though the attack of the virus can be intense in some people, it is not deadly everyone eventually recovers.

What are the symptoms?

Ross River fever can be debilitating. The most common symptoms of the ailment are similar to the flu or influenza – fever, headache, chills, and joint pain. Patients also complain of fatigue and arthritis type pains. It is interesting to note that there is no symptoms of the virus infection in children and severity of the symptoms increases with age. Below are some of the most common symptoms that are generally seen in patients:

  • Muscle aches
  • Rashes
  • Aching tendons
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches and aches in areas especially behind the eyes
  • Joint stiffness, pain, and swelling

One of the most distinctive features of the Ross River fever is joint pain as almost any joint in the body may be affected. The most common areas that ache due to the infection are fingers, elbows, ankles, knees, jaws, and shoulders. The severity of the pain can vary for different joints at varied times of the day.

The symptoms of the disease generally disappear within about six weeks. However, in few cases the symptoms may come and go and can continue for up to a year or more. It has been noted that around 10% of people who suffered Ross River fever have ongoing fatigue and depression for quite some time after recovering from the symptoms.

How is it transmitted?

There are more than 40 species of mosquitoes that are involved in the spread of the virus. During outbreaks of the fever, it becomes problematic to track down particular species that are infected. Ross River infection may be triggered by recent rainfall, or by a tidal flooding in the coastal wetlands.

It is very important to note that mosquitoes do not hatch being carriers of the Ross River virus. However, a mosquito has to bite an infected animal first to get the virus in their system. Kangaroos and Wallabies are the most common reservoirs of the virus.

What treatments are there?

First a patient must be diagnosed with the virus by obtaining a blood test. Unfortunately there has been no vaccination released to the general public to prevent the infection of the Ross River virus. However, treatment can be made depending on the symptoms that a patient shows. For instance, Paracetamol may be used to treat pain and fever. To prevent fatigue and to keep the muscle movements right, light exercising might help. Plenty of rest is what you need to cope up with weakness.

What are the prevention methods?

  • The best prevention against Ross River fever is avoiding a mosquito bite. If you are near a wetland or in an area that is common for mosquitos, you must wear loose fitting clothing as well as a topical insect repellent to save the exposed parts of your body (like face and hands) from mosquito bites.
  • Avoid being outside during early evenings and at dawn, when mosquito infestation is high.
  • Check and take preventive measures against breeding grounds of mosquitoes. Water containers that have been left uncovered for a prolonged period of time and stagnant water are one of the best breeding places for mosquitoes.

How can Derek Help?

Having Derek complete a general pest control treatment to your home, can be vital in preventing the spread of the virus. The treatment will eliminate any mosquitos as well as any other insects that may exist around your home and comes with a satisfaction guarantee.

Call Derek today for a free quote on 0404 00 88 66.

Servicing the Gold Coast, Tweed and Brisbane areas.