Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus are infections that are spread to humans through mosquito bites. Both cause similar illnesses,
including joint inflammation and pain. Ross River virus is also known as epidemic polyarthritis.
About 30% of people infected with these viruses will develop symptoms, which appear within 3 to 21 days after infection. Symptoms can include:
Ross River virus is the most common and widespread of mosquito borne diseases that infect humans in Australia. People of all ages are at risk of developing these infections.
Protection against mosquito bites is the best way to avoid infection.
You can be infected if you are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus.
Infections can occur throughout most regions of Australia, but tend to be more common in regions with a warm, humid climate that are close to bodies of water where mosquitoes breed.
Outbreaks also occur when local conditions of rainfall, tides and temperature result in increased mosquito populations.
Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus infection can by diagnosed by your doctor from your symptoms and physical examination.
A blood test can confirm that there has been recent infection by the virus although it may need to be repeated to be certain. Your doctor
may also order blood tests to help rule out other types of arthritis as the symptoms may be
Most people recover completely from these viruses. But, recovery can take a few weeks to a few months (or longer in some cases) and symptoms may persist, or come and go.
There is no known cure but most people recover with time. There are also many treatments available to relieve symptoms and to help control
joint pain and swelling. The viruses do not cause any permanent damage to the joints and joints will recover fully over time.
Have questions? Call our free infoline on 1800 011 041 to speak with a member of our health team.
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