A mosquito borne virus found primarily in Australia and the Pacific Islands has been reported in dramatically increased numbers since the beginning of the year in areas “Down-under”.
A Yahoo! 7 News report notes that big increases of Ross River Virus (RRV) have been reported across Queensland this year, about seven-times the number seen versus the 5-year average from 2010-2014.
The reports states the following figures: Across Queensland, 2050 people have already been struck down by the mosquito-borne illness this year, again far outnumbering the 2010-14 average of just 282 cases. In addition, Gold Coast Health figures show there have been 242 confirmed cases, this compares to the approximately 9 cases typically reported.
Recent wet weather has provided the perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes and health officials are trying to ensure effective and sustainable mosquito management programs are in place and any outbreaks are controlled.
RRV is characterized by painful or swollen joints lasting from days to months. Symptoms usually settle by themselves. Other symptoms may also include fever and swelling, followed by a raised red rash affecting the torso and limbs.
Most people become unwell within three to 11 days after being bitten by a mosquito infected with Ross River virus and some, especially children, can become infected without showing any symptoms.
RRV infection cannot be spread from person to person. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, both Aedes species and Culex species may serve as a vector.
RRV is found throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, parts of Indonesia and the western Pacific Islands.