Ross River Virus – Australia

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10 people in Wellington Shire, Victoria, Australia have been diagnosed with Ross River virus this year (2021).

Health authorities are warning Gippsland residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes. While the latest warning from the Victorian Health Department is for people travelling to the Bellarine Peninsula and surf coast regions, where there has been a big jump in cases in recent months, local infections show the virus is still present in mosquitoes in Gippsland.

A sales woman who had been infected believes she contracted the disease after being stung by mosquitoes around Lake Guthridge. Her symptoms have included debilitating pain — particularly in her feet, ankles, and knees — and fatigue, which followed a rash early on. While she is slowly recovering now, during the worst of the illness she found it a struggle to just get out of bed and dress. She now has numbness in 2 fingers on her right hand and suffers continuing, although diminished, pain.

Photo: Aedes aegypti mosquito, vector of the Ross River virus.

Common symptoms of Ross River virus infection include fever, joint pain, feeling tired and generally unwell. The condition can be debilitating for some who take years to recover. Most people recover in 2-3 weeks.

The virus was first isolated in 1972 from the serum of a boy named Edward River, but the disease has been known since 1928. While originally only found in Australia, the virus has been spotted in India in 2010.

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