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Mosquito-borne Viruses in Australia (Western Australia)

13 Nov 2017

The Western Australian Health Department has said via mediaLink that the state is in the highest risk period for mosquito-borne diseases. Almost 200 cases of Ross River virus have been reported since the beginning of July, a 200% increase on the same period time last year. Just over half of these cases have been reported from the Perth metropolitan area, a 400% increase from last year.

More than half have been reported in the metropolitan area, compared with 23 infections in Perth for the same period last year. Barmah Forest virus has also been reported from the state since September.

Advice for Travellers

Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) are uncommon in travellers and cause symptoms that include rash, fever, joint and muscle pains.

For (RRV), the risk is greatest in those planning outdoor activities (particularly camping) in rural areas of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands. (BFV) has been found only in Australia.

  • Travellers should be aware of the presence of RRV and BFV at their travel destination and practice good insect bite avoidance.
  • Warning notices in the media, during outbreaks and in high-risk areas, are given in Australia and should be heeded by travellers.

No vaccines are available and there is no specific treatment for either infection.