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Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus

What are Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus?
Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) are two of the most important mosquito-borne viruses  causing human disease in Western Australia. The diseases caused by infection with these viruses are known as RRV disease and BFV disease. The two viruses have similar life cycles and cause similar symptoms in people.
In nature, RRV and BFV are passed back and forth between animals and mosquitoes. The only way humans can catch the disease is through being bitten by a virus-carrying mosquito. RRV and BFV cannot be caught from direct contact with another person or animal. The incubation period [the time between being bitten (infected) and becoming sick] for both diseases varies from three days to three weeks, but is normally seven to fourteen days. Fewer than one in three people will develop symptoms after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It may be possible for humans to pass the virus back to mosquitoes that bite them but only during the incubation period.
RRV and BFV diseases are notifiable under the Health Act. This means a doctor who diagnoses either virus in a patient is required to inform the Department of Health, so that more can be learnt about the distribution of the viruses, and so that public health action can be taken if appropriate, such as measures to control mosquitoes and the issuing of public warnings.

Symptoms of Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus diseases
People suffering from RRV disease or BFV disease may develop a wide range of symptoms that are common to both diseases. The symptoms vary from person to person but include painful and/or swollen joints, sore muscles, aching tendons, skin rashes, fever, tiredness, headaches and swollen lymph nodes. Less common symptoms include sore eyes, a sore throat, nausea, and tingling in the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.  The symptoms may be similar to some rheumatic diseases or other viral diseases, so they can only be reliably diagnosed by a specific blood test ordered by a doctor.
Pain in the joints is much more common than swelling. The most commonly affected joints are the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers, elbows shoulders and jaw. Pain usually develops rapidly and may be intense, and more severe in different joints at different times. When they are severe or prolonged, the symptoms can cause emotional distress or depression, and can affect family, social and work relationships. The symptoms in children tend to be milder and the disease runs a shorter course. A rash tends to be more common to BFV disease and swollen joints are not as common and may not last as long as with RRV disease.
How long do the symptoms last?

Fever, nausea and skin rash usually disappear within the first two weeks of illness. Joint, muscle and tendon pain may last much longer and can be distressing. Often people experience severe tiredness (lethargy) and they may feel depressed.
Symptoms subside eventually and leave few or no after-effects. It is not possible to predict how long an individual person will take to fully recover from either disease. Some adults recover within two to six weeks after the onset of infection. However, many people will still be unwell at three months. Symptoms can persist for up to a year or more in rare cases. People with persistent symptoms are generally not sick all the time.
After three months, many experience days when they are well and as time goes by these periods become more frequent. However, symptoms may recur suddenly and without warning.

Control backyard mosquito breeding

Mosquitoes can breed in a variety of domestic situations. They need only a week or so in a small amount of standing water to breed. Examples include:
  •     Roof gutters, pot plant drip trays, garden rubbish, animal drinking containers and bird baths. Drain or empty these containers once a week.
  •     Septic tanks and leach drains. These must be completely sealed to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs and breeding in the tank. The vent pipe must be fitted with a mosquito-proof cowl or screen.
  •     Rainwater tanks. These should be sealed and have insect proof mesh over the inlet, overflow and inspection port.
  •     Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

Prevent mosquito bites.
  •     Use insect repellent Insecticandel, or Insectilotion on exposed skin and or clothing.   Always follow the directions on the package. Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
  •     At home burn Insecticandel and have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  •     If camping sleeping under the stars, use Insecticandel Premium which can last up to 20 hours, they are effective all night. When outside the tent bring the Insecticandel together.
  •     Travelers' advice to bring along Insecticandel to destinations where Mosquito-Borne Diseases might be a problem.

Mosquito-Proof with Insecticandel