Ross River Virus: An Arthritogenic Alphavirus of Significant Importance in the Asia Pacific
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Ross River virus is a mosquito transmitted disease endemic in tropical Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, adjacent islands of Indonesia and the Solomon islands. It occurs epidemically in temperate Australia and sporadically in Pacific Islands, such as Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is the most common arbovirus disease in Australia. The disease occurs mainly in adults, with clinical symptoms rare before puberty. The symptoms are rash, joint pain and general effects such as fatigue, fever and muscle pain, which appear from 3 to 21 days post-infection and can persist for 3-6 months. In Australia, Ross River virus is responsible for an average of 8,000 cases annually. The long-term effects of Ross River virus disease are thought to be due to the virus's ability to evade the patient's immune system. Antibodies produced against the virus may be insufficient to neutralise it and may even improve the ability of the virus to infect host cells (antibody-dependent enhancement). The virus is also capable of persisting for long periods in macrophages and may be reactivated during times of stress. Various human host proteins may also increase Ross River virus infection rates and contribute to disease symptoms.
Issues in Infectious Diseases
Microbiology not elsewhere classified