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Ross River Virus in Australia

08 Sep 2014

The Health Department of Western Australia (WA) is concerned about the consistent increase in Ross River virus (RRV) infections over the past two years. In the last year, 1535 RRV cases were reported which compares with 1137 the previous year.

Thus far in 2014, 1173 cases have been notified which is just below the 1374 cases recorded in 2012, one of the worst years for RRV infection in WA.

Once the warmer months arrive, the risk of RRV increases. Many of the reported cases are in Perth with a high proportion in the South West, where most cases usally occur.

The Health Department is investigating whether the unseasonal increase in cases during the winter months, has been caused by a warmer winter or a change in testing methods skewing results.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers should be aware of the risk of Ross River virus infection in Western Australia, particularly if visiting during the summer months in Australia. Ross River virus in transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito; travellers should take steps to avoid mosquito bites.