Medical Questions » Arthritis Questions » Question No. 87
Question:I visited the Sunshine Coast four years ago and was bitten by mosquitoes that gave me Ross River fever. This caused months of joint aches and weakness, if I get bitten again by mosquitoes that carry the virus, can I catch the disease again?
Answer:Normally the answer is no. Once you have had this disease (or any other viral infection) you cannot catch it again, but there are always those few people who are the exception to the rule. As with chickenpox and other childhood viruses, once you have had a viral infection you develop antibodies to that virus that remain in your system for the rest of your life. In Australia, Ross River fever is named after the river that runs through Townsville in north Queensland, but it is a world-wide disease that is known generally as epidemic polyarthralgia. It causes severe muscle and joint swelling and pain, fever and tiredness that may last for several months. There is no cure or vaccine, but medication can be prescribed by doctors to relieve the worst symptoms. This infection is most common in the tropics, but can occur Australia-wide (Tasmania being the one exception). It tends to flare in epidemics every few years. You can enjoy another Sunshine Coast holiday with the expectation that it is very unlikely that you will catch the infection again.
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