The Ross River fever has been increasing in numbers in Australia which is a condition that can trigger achy joints and fatigue for a few months. In most cases, an individual can recover but some might experience symptoms for a year or longer.
Signs and symptoms of Ross River virus
- Sore and swollen joints
- Muscle pain
Many individuals usually feel better in just a few weeks while some can feel stiffness, joint pain or fatigue for months intermittently for a year or more. The fever is not usually evident and the rash can start 1-10 days after the joint pain starts and can last for up to 7-10 days. Some have swollen lymph nodes while others can feel tenderness or pins and needles sensation in the soles or palms.
The symptoms typically start 3-11 days and up to 21 days after being infected by a mosquito bite. The disease was previously called “epidemic polyarthritis” due to the spread of joint pain epidemically.
Where is the disease found?
The Ross River virus is found in Australia and Papua New Guinea particularly in areas close to the coasts and other bodies of water. The condition occurs throughout the year but especially in times of heavy rains and flooding. In Australia, it is usually from February up to May. The risk is less during the winter season.
How Ross River virus spreads
The condition can spread via mosquito bites. Remember that this cannot spread from one individual to another directly. There are various mosquitoes that can spread the virus including Aedes notoscriptus and vigilax as well as Culex annulirostris.
An individual is not likely to acquire the disease even if he/she is in an area where others have been infected. Even if an individual was bitten by a mosquito, he/she is not likely to develop any symptoms from the bite. Generally, those who are infected with the Ross River virus do not have any symptoms.
The best way to prevent the condition is to avoid mosquito bites. Even today, there is still no cure for the disease. Other measures to prevent the transmission is to use long sleeves and pants as well as applying a mosquito repellent especially those that contain DEET.
In addition, use bed nets at night time as well as install screens on windows and doors to keep the mosquitoes out.
Do I have the Ross River virus?
The doctor will assess the individual for indications of arthritis and take a history. A blood test is also performed to confirm if the individual has an infection. The antibodies do not show up as positive until a week and maybe not until 10 days up to 2 weeks after being infected. An individual can have a negative result for antibodies if the symptoms are only present for a few days.