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Ross river fever: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About Ross river fever

Ross river fever is a viral infection caused by Ross river virus which spreads from one human being to another by mosquito bites. It is characterized by flu like symptoms along with multiple joint pains. There is no specific treatment for the disease but symptomatic approach and conservative management helps in improving most of the patients.

Ross river fever: Incidence, age and sex

Ross river fever is usually encountered in middle-aged adults and affects both the sexes equally. However children may also be afflicted. It is a fairly common mosquito borne disease encountered in the tropical and sub-tropical geographical regions. It is fairly prevalent in certain regions of Australia, Fiji and the Cook islands.

Signs and symptoms of Ross river fever: Diagnosis

The main symptoms of disease include multiple joint pains, fever, headache, and skin rash. Joints such as knees, elbow, fingers, toes and ankles are symmetrically and bilaterally affected. The condition is generally asymptomatic, in case of children. Other generalised features include profound fatigue and muscle pain. Ross river fever is a self-limiting disease and the individual normally recovers within a month. In occasional cases, the disease may become longstanding and last for a few years and may be associated with depression.

The diagnosis of Ross river fever is done by blood tests which determine the presence of specific antibodies against virus.

Causes and prevention of Ross river fever

Ross river fever is caused by a virus with the same name. It is transmitted to human blood by mosquito bite. Direct human to human transmission has not been documented yet. The common mosquito species implicated are Culex and Anopheles.

Prevention includes avoiding and minimizing mosquito bites by taking appropriate measures such as wearing full-sleeved clothes, using mosquito repellents, mosquito screens and elimination of mosquito breeding sites may help in minimizing the transmission of virus.

Ross river fever: Complications

It may affect several joints of the body like knees, elbows, fingers, ankles, toes, causing severe joint pain, swelling and stiffness leading to movement disability. Depression may occur in cases of long standing infection.

Ross river fever: Treatment

Ross river fever has no specific treatment available. The treatment depends entirely on the symptoms and the condition of the individual. The primary aim of treatment is to alleviate the symptoms of the patient. Certain medications like pain killers and anti-pyretics can be prescribed for pain and fever. The good part of this infectious disease is that it confers life-long immunity once an individual has been afflicted with it. Overall, the individual gets better with the symptomatic treatment.