Ross River disease
Infection in Australia can occur year round. In the south, infection is most common in the summer and fall. In the north, infection is most common in the wet season.
Symptoms are similar to those caused by other alphaviruses. After an incubation period of 3-9 days (but as long as 21 days), patients present with fever, general malaise, and a nonspecific rash. Arthralgias or symmetric polyarthritis are very common. Symptoms usually last about 10 days, but a subset of patients report fatigue and arthralgias for months. The symptoms are clinically indistinguishable from Barmah Forest virus (the other alphavirus endemic in Australia), though illness from Barmah Forest virus tends to be milder.
B33.1 – Ross river disease
789400009 – Disease caused by Ross River virus
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- Barmah Forest virus – Diagnosis is by serology (may cross-react with Ross River virus serology).
- Chikungunya virus infection – An alphavirus that also causes fever, rash, and arthralgias. Diagnosis is by serology.
- Dengue fever – Symptoms are very similar, although polyarthralgia is less common. Diagnosis is by serology.
- Rubella – Can also present with fever and rash. Diagnosis is made by serology (may cross-react with Ross River virus serology).
- Q fever – Acute infection may present with influenza-like symptoms including myalgias. Diagnosis is by serology (may cross-react with Ross River virus serology).
- Epstein-Barr virus infection – Pharyngitis seen in this infection is not a prominent symptom of Ross River virus. Diagnosis is made by heterophile antibody testing or polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
- Parvovirus B19 / erythema infectiosum – The classic malar rash of parvovirus B19 infection is not typical of Ross River virus infection. Diagnosis is by serology or PCR.