Ross River fever is caused by a viral infection, transmitted through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, rash, and joint pains. Prevention relies on avoiding mosquito bites.
Ross River fever is caused by infection with Ross River virus, one of a group of viruses called arboviruses (or arthropod-borne viruses), which are spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Many people who are infected with the virus will never develop symptoms.
The virus is spread by certain types of female mosquitoes.
People who are in contact with known mosquito habitats and who live in warm, humid climates near bodies of water will be most at risk of infection. Ross River virus infections are the most common mosquito-borne infection in Australia, and infections occurs in many rural areas in NSW. Infections are uncommon in major cities and towns. Outbreaks can occur when local conditions of rainfall, tides and temperature promote mosquito breeding.
There is currently no vaccine against Ross River virus.
To protect against mosquitoes and reduce the risk of diseases they transmit:
For more detailed information on reducing the risk of mosquito bites at home and while travelling see the Mosquitoes are a Health Hazard factsheet. This also includes more information on mosquito repellents
Ross River virus infection is diagnosed by detection of antibodies against the virus in the blood. It usually requires comparison of a blood test taken early in the illness and with another sample taken two weeks later to confirm the infection.
There is no specific treatment for Ross River virus infection. Your doctor will be able to advise you on medications that will help ease the discomfort of the symptoms.
Laboratories are required to notify cases of Ross River, and other mosquito-borne disease to the public health unit. Public health staff monitor the geographic spread of Ross River virus infections and provide information about avoiding mosquito-borne diseases.