The world’s nastiest and most prolific killer critter is at it again.
- Mosquito outbreak triples Ross River virus cases – Brisbane Times Feb 12, 2015
- Ross River virus outbreak in south-east Queensland – ABC Feb 23, 2015
- Rain brings on worst Ross River Fever outbreak in years – Sunshine Coast Daily 6 days ago
- Ross River Fever outbreak could include Gympie region – Gympie Times 4 days ago
- Number of Ross River virus cases on the Gold Coast explode – Courier Mail Feb 23, 2015
- Cairns in grip of Ross River fever concern as cases spike – Cairns Post Feb 13, 2015
- Spike in Ross River fever cases – Townsville Bulletin Feb 23, 2015
From Gympie to Brisbane, from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, from Townsville to Cairns, Queensland is certainly in the grip of a current Ross River virus (RRV) outbreak. The accompanying quotes do not make comfortable reading…
“Ross River virus infections in Queensland have more than tripled…” “Gympie and the Sunshine Coast is in the grip of the worst Ross River virus outbreak in years…” ” …outbreak is likely to continue as the wet season rolls on, leading to hundreds, if not thousands, of new cases.”
So far this year more than 1000 cases have been reported here in Queensland, the average for the same period over the last five years is just 190. Yes, it’s an outbreak for sure.
What is Ross River virus?
As you have no doubt gathered, Ross River virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes and no doubt you also know that mosquitoes breed in water. So the rains dumped on us by the recent Tropical Cyclone Marcia are behind this latest outbreak.
Symptoms of Ross River virus include:
- Swollen joints including wrists, knees, ankles, fingers and toes
- Nausea, headache, backache and muscle aches are also common
- An enlargement of the lymph nodes, especially in the groin or the armpit
- Debilitating lethargy and fatigue
- Pins and needles and tenderness on hands and feet
- Strangely, although it’s often referred to as Ross River fever, fever is usually not present
- Even stranger, for some people, particularly children, there may be no symptoms at all
There is no treatment or cure, just bed rest, so prevention is the best defence. I’ve spoken many times about the pesky mosquito here on this website, please check out the following posts to find out more about the nauseating mozzie and also see what you can do to prevent being bitten by this nasty little critter:
- Preparing for Summer Part One: Mosquitoes
- Australia’s Biggest Baddest Thing
- The Mosquitoes Irritating Little Brother
- Mosquitoes, Sandflies and My Favourite Aerosols
The good news about Ross River virus
Most people recover within about six weeks. Some people take longer, but the vast majority completely recover within a year. It is also now thought that our bodies build up an immune response to RRV which may well prevent you from getting the disease again for the rest of your life.
The bad news about Ross River virus
It’s painful; it can be very painful from what I’ve heard. 10 out of 10 pain and excruciating pain has been mentioned by those who have had this disease.
Ross River virus AND mosquitoes are most certainly Australian Bad Things. Thanks Marcia!