The Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus are viral infections that can be spread to humans via mosquito bites. Both of these can cause similar illnesses in Australia, including joint inflammation and pain. However, both Ross River virus treatment and Barmah Forest virus treatment is available.

People of all ages are at risk of developing these infections and they are the most common and widespread of mosquito-borne diseases in Brisbane and around Australia. This situation can also be referred to as epidemic polyarthritis.

How long does the virus stay in your system?

The virus can remain present in your system for a few weeks to a few months. During this time you may find that your symptoms are worse some days and better on others. You may also require a form of treatment, usually medication from a Rheumatologist, which may help to control joint pain and swelling.

For some people, symptoms can come and go for a year or more, although this is quite rare. The virus symptoms do not cause permanent damage and your joints will recover fully over time, with all symptoms subsiding eventually, leaving few or no after-effects. Once you have had the virus, you will not be able to contract it again.

Is Ross River virus serious?

Each patient will experience a different level of symptoms as a result of contracting the virus. In Australia, the symptoms can affect people’s health in different ways extending to severe joint pain and a range of other conditions. The optimum level of treatment will be related to the severity of your symptoms.

ross river virus treatment

A consultation with one of our skilled experts in Brisbane is the first step. We will conduct examinations to determine exactly which virus is affecting you - enabling us to then determine which method will be best to minimise the severity and duration of the symptoms you are experiencing.

What are the signs of Ross River virus?

The majority of those infected in Australia have slight or no symptoms at all. About three out of ten people will develop symptoms of the disease that usually appear within three to 21 days after infection.

These can include:

  • A rash of small red spots that last around seven to ten days. The rash may appear up to two weeks before or after other symptoms. This can often appear similar to rashes associated with other infectious diseases.
  • General illness and symptoms consistent with fever, chills, headaches and tiredness.
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling which commonly affects the fingers, wrists, ankles and knees. It is important to note that any joint can be affected and you may feel pain in the tissues surrounding joints, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons.

What should you do if you have the virus?

Anyone who develops symptoms of these viruses should speak to one of our arthritis experts so the exact condition can be diagnosed. Our expert team can diagnose which virus is affecting you by investigating in detail your physical symptoms and specific blood test results. From there, they can determine which treatment will be best for you.

A blood test can confirm that there has been a recent infection by the Ross River virus, however, this may need to be repeated to be certain. These blood tests also allow for investigations that help to rule out other types of arthritis, as the symptoms can be very similar.

What causes the virus?

The cause of the virus is a mosquito bite if the insect is carrying the virus. It is suspected that mosquitoes pick up the virus from kangaroos, wallabies and possibly other marsupials and wild rodents, all of which can act as a natural host for the virus. Ross River virus is present in most regions of Australia but is most common in areas with a warm, humid climate close to water bodies where mosquitoes breed. Outbreaks also occur when local conditions of rainfall, tides and temperature result in increased mosquito populations.

What is the available Ross River virus treatment?

While there is no known cure for these infections, treatment is available and this is a condition that is treated here at arthritisCARE. Our team will tailor your treatment in response to your symptoms. It may take some time to explore medication options, as there is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you.

Several different treatments and medicines can be used to treat the virus including:

  • Pain relief with medicines such as paracetamol
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
ross river virus brisbane

Anyone who develops symptoms of these viruses should speak to one of our arthritis experts so the exact condition can be diagnosed

What’s the price of Ross River virus treatment?

Treatment costs will be specific to your needs and the number of appointments needed to ensure your full recovery. The Frequently Asked Questions section of our website provides information on the fees that we currently charge for initial appointments and follow-up review appointments.

How the arthritisCARE team can help

Ross River virus treatment advice is available from the arthritisCARE Rheumatologists including:

  • Dr Peter Landsberg MBBS (HONS), FRACP, FRACGP, DIPRACOG
  • Dr Louise McCormack BSC, MBBS (HONS), FRACP
  • Dr Clare Owens MBBS, BSC, FRACP
  • Dr Maryam Zia MBBS, FRACP
  • Dr Kevin Su BPharm, MBBS, FRACP

The arthritisCARE team can help you control your symptoms to increase your day-to-day comfort levels as you are experiencing the impact of the virus. A consultation with one of our skilled experts in Brisbane is the first step. They will conduct examinations to determine exactly which virus is affecting you - enabling them then to determine which method will be best to minimise the severity and duration of your symptoms.

What’s the price of Ross River virus treatment?

Treatment costs will be specific to your needs and the number of appointments needed to ensure your full recovery. The Frequently Asked Questions section of our website provides information on the fees that we currently charge for initial appointments and follow-up review appointments.

How the arthritisCARE team can help

Ross River virus treatment advice is available from the arthritisCARE Rheumatologists including:

  • Dr Peter Landsberg MBBS (HONS), FRACP, FRACGP, DIPRACOG
  • Dr Louise McCormack BSC, MBBS (HONS), FRACP
  • Dr Clare Owens MBBS, BSC, FRACP
  • Dr Maryam Zia MBBS, FRACP
  • Dr Kevin Su BPharm, MBBS, FRACP

The arthritisCARE team can help you control your symptoms to increase your day-to-day comfort levels as you are experiencing the impact of the virus. A consultation with one of our skilled experts in Brisbane is the first step. They will conduct examinations to determine exactly which virus is affecting you - enabling them then to determine which method will be best to minimise the severity and duration of your symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best ways to prevent contracting the Ross River virus?

While there is no preventive vaccine, you can minimise your chance of catching the virus by doing all that you can to avoid mosquito bites.

Hence, the best ways to reduce the chance of infection are:

  • Wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • Using insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin
  • Avoiding mosquito-prone areas, particularly at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more active
  • Ensure you have fly screens adequately fitted to windows and external doors
  • Attempt to reduce the potential mosquito breeding habitats nearby by ensuring no stagnant water is present

How does the virus spread?

The virus is spread by specific types of female mosquitoes as they feed on animals and people. If one of these mosquitos feeds on the blood of an infected animal, the mosquito too can then become infected. The virus multiplies within the mosquito and is passed to you if the mosquito bites you. The number of infected people is much higher in the summer and autumn months. It is important to note that the virus does not spread directly from one person to another.

Who is the most at risk of being infected?

The virus can affect everyone equally; however, those who are in contact with mosquito habitats regularly due to living in warm, humid climates near bodies of water will be most exposed. Infections are particularly common in many rural areas of Australia and less common in major cities and towns. Outbreaks can occur when bouts of rainfall, tides and temperature promote increased levels of mosquito breeding.

If you suffer from Ross River Virus, the arthritisCARE team can help

The pain and discomfort caused by a Ross River virus infection can impact negatively on your quality of life. Our team understands this better than most, as we treat patients every day with this and other conditions which cause joint pain, stiffness and swelling including:

The arthritisCARE team of rheumatoid specialists in Brisbane has many years of experience and offers you a choice of both male and female Rheumatologists in Brisbane. Our goal is to ensure that you feel comfortable working with us so we can collaboratively treat your condition and significantly improve the way you feel each day.

Avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. Contact us to set up an appointment for a comprehensive, expert medical review today.

Recommended further advice is available from:

Arthritis Australia's Ross River Virus Information page
https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/ross-river-virus/

Information Sheet: Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus by Arthritis Australia
https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ArthAus_RossRiverBarmahForest_1805.pdf

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