Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2009

Ross River virus

Bridget Barber Denis Spelman Justin T Denholm
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Ross River virus is Australia’s most common and widespread arbovirus. It causes epidemic polyarthritis and is associated with significant morbidity and cost to society.
This article aims to increase clinicians’ awareness of the epidemiological and clinical features of Ross River virus and provide information regarding prevention, diagnosis and management.
Ross River virus occurs throughout Australia and numerous outbreaks have occurred. Most cases occur in northern Australia during the wet season, and individuals with high exposure to mosquitoes are most at risk. Arthralgia is the most common presenting symptom and is usually associated with rash, fever and lethargy. No treatment alters the course of the illness, although patients may benefit from simple analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Symptoms usually resolve within 6 months. Personal protective measures against mosquitoes are an important prevention strategy.

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