What is the Ross River Virus Infection & How Does It Spread?

What is the Ross River Virus Infection?

Illness caused due to Ross River virus is known as Ross River virus infection. It spreads through mosquito bites.

Most of the people infected with Ross River virus do not feel sick. 30 percent of people develop symptoms in 3-11 days after being infected with Ross River virus. Some people also take 21 days to develop the symptoms.(1) The Ross River virus infection leads to inflammation of joints, pain, muscle aches, and fatigue.

How Does The Ross River Virus Spread?

The Ross River virus infection spreads from animals to humans through a mosquito. Some animals such as wallabies and kangaroos are the main animals that are involved in the process of infection(2)

A female mosquito, when feeds on the blood of the infected animal get infected with the Ross River virus. This virus may pass to humans or other animals when the mosquito feeds again.

In a large outbreak of mosquito, more people get infected with Ross River virus.

Signs and Symptoms of Ross River Virus Infection

Most of the people with Ross River virus infection, mainly children, do not show any signs or symptoms of the infection. The severity of the symptom of Ross River virus increase as the age advances.

The symptoms of Ross River virus can vary from person-to-person. The symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Rash on the trunk and the limb. It appears on one to 10 days of the onset of arthritis and stays for a week or 10 days
  • Swollen lymph nodes especially in the groin and the armpit
  • Headache
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Aching tendons

Joint pain is the most distressing feature of the Ross River virus infection. Joint of any part of the body is affected, the common sites being wrist, knee, finger, elbow, shoulder, and jaw. The pain can be severe in different joints at different times.

Mostly the symptoms of Ross River virus disappear within 6 weeks. In some, the symptoms of Ross River virus may come and go. 10 % of people are seen suffering from depression and fatigue due to Ross River virus infection.

Arthritis in this disease can last from days to months. In some people, the transient symptom comes and goes for a year or more.

How Is Ross River Virus Infection Diagnosed?

Ross River virus is diagnosed by a blood test. For the diagnosis, other illnesses with similar symptoms need to be excluded.

Treatment of Ross River Virus Infection

There is no specific treatment for Ross River virus disease and also there is no vaccine to prevent it.

The fever can be controlled with paracetamol.

Most people recover from the Ross River virus completely within a month. The body develops an immune response to the virus and protects the person lifelong thereafter(1)

How To Prevent Ross River Virus Infection?

No vaccine or medicine can help prevent River Ross virus disease, but you can surely prevent yourself from getting bitten by an infected mosquito. Preventive measures are as follows:

  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, hats, and full pants to cover the exposed areas.
  • You can use an insect repellent as directed
  • If using sunscreen, wear sunscreen first and then the insect repellent.
  • Make sure you do not apply the repellent on the hand, eye, and mouth.
  • You can use permethrin-treated clothing and gear. These clothes remain protective after multiple washes.
  • Do not use permethrin directly on the skin.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you sleep is outdoor
  • Avoid mosquito prone areas especially during dusk and dawn. This is the time mosquitoes bite the most.
  • Ensure your accommodation has fly screens and has properly fitted windows.
  • Reduce the potential mosquito breeding habitats such as stagnant water, containers holding water, and coolers. The place where water remains for a long period of time needs to be cleaned properly, regularly.

If feeling sick, especially if suffering from fever after travel, contact a doctor, and inform him about your travel.

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