Ross River Virus Research

The research investigated predisposing factors to improve management of Ross River Virus in the southwest of Western Australia

Partners: University of WA,   Health Department of WA  SW Local Government Authorities Completed  2004   

Duration 4 years Cost: $250,000

The study was sponsored by the Val Lishman Health Research Foundation, and carried out by UWA with logistical support from the Department of Health.

Findings:

·         Outbreaks occur in autumn and are associated with autumn/winter rains

·         The longer a mosquito (which transmits the virus) survives, the greater the chance it has of transmitting the disease from an animal host to humans

·         The risk of outbreaks of RRV can be predicted by studying the immunity of Western Grey Kangaroos and horses, both of which are animal hosts for the Ross River Virus

·         Peak times for biting are 6pm and 5am

·         Mapping of incidence of RRV in the southwest and the knowledge that the majority of mosquitoes remain within a 1km radius of release

Resultant improvements to health outcomes:

·         Monitoring kangaroo or horse immunity may help predict human outbreaks

·         More is understood about high risk areas, and these should be targeted during outbreaks

·         Timing of bites should inform the public about when to cover up and apply repellents

·         Knowing the areas of peak incidence of RRV should inform planners when considering areas of human population