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    Thread: Ross River

    1. #1

      Ross River

      It begins with a simple insect bite, but it can leave you bedridden for weeks, or sometimes longer. Ross River fever is a debilitating viral illness, spread by mosquitoes. Preventing the bites in the first place is the best way to fight the disease, which some say will be more prevalent in a warming greenhouse world.


      Ross River fever is caused by a viral infection, transmitted through mosquito bites. The Ross River virus was named after the river in northern Queensland where it was first identified, but it is found in all states of Australia and throughout Papua New Guinea and many islands in the South Pacific.
      The disease is most common in Australia from spring to autumn, particularly from January through to March, when mosquitoes are most abundant.
      Ross River virus is in a class of viruses called arboviruses (or arthropod-borne viruses), spread mainly by blood-sucking insects. Other arboviruses include dengue, Barmah forest virus, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever.


      Infection with the Ross River virus is most commonly associated with fever, rash and joint pains. Swelling of joints may also occur – especially in the fingers, wrists and feet – and joint stiffness tends to be worse in the morning.
      General symptoms such as nausea, headache, backache, and muscle aches are also common. Lethargy and fatigue are often debilitating, with some people unable to carry out minor activities, or even get out of bed.
      Symptoms of the virus usually come on between five and 14 days after infection and disappear within six weeks. However, 10 per cent of people have ongoing joint pains, depression and fatigue for many months.

      In many cases, particularly in children, infection with Ross River virus may cause no symptoms at all.


      The Ross River virus usually lives in native mammals such as kangaroos and wallabies, but can also affect rodents and even horses. These animals act as natural reservoirs for the virus and when a female mosquito bites an infected animal it picks up some of the virus.
      The virus enters the human bloodstream via the saliva of an infected mosquito. It then reproduces itself in some of the blood cells and builds up in organs such as muscles, joints and the skin, resulting in the symptoms of infection. This incubation time – or the time between being bitten by mosquito and early symptoms – is usually about one week.
      Ross River virus infection cannot be passed from person to person.

      Diagnosis and treatment

      The diagnosis of Ross River fever is made by taking a blood test. People who have been exposed to Ross River virus develop antibodies to the organism in their blood and the test detects these.
      Unfortunately there are no specific treatments. The virus is not killed by antibiotics, although doctors can advise on treatment to relieve the aches, pains and joint swelling. Aspirin and other analgesics can help. Bed rest is sometimes needed in more severe cases and avoiding alcohol and excessive physical activity is recommended.
      Following infection, immunity normally persists for life, which means that most people unlucky enough to get Ross River fever only suffer the symptoms once in their lives.


      Protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites is the most important factor in preventing disease. This includes avoiding known mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Make sure insect screens in the home don't have holes in them and be extra careful when on holidays or camping. Tents and caravans should be screened, or you should consider sleeping under a mosquito net. If there are mosquitoes around at bed time, kill them with insecticide before you go to sleep.
      If you're outdoors and there are mosquitoes around, use a personal insect repellent and cover up with long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Loose fitting clothing is recommended as mosquitoes can bite through fabrics (including denim jeans). It also pays to check around the house for areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes love to breed. Uncovered ponds and tanks or even undrained pot plants, blocked gutters, and buckets around the garden can be great areas for mosquito larvae. If it's possible, get rid of the water, or use insecticide around the area to kill the mosquitoes.
      Mosquito populations, as well as the levels of viruses they carry, are also monitored in government-based programs, which aim to prevent Ross River fever outbreaks.

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    3. #2

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      Ktee is on a distinguished road
      There have been a few cases of Dengue Fever since we have been here. We know it's there but I have to admit we don't take precautions etc.