Ross River virus: ecology and distribution

Annu Rev Entomol. 2002;47:1-31. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145100.


Ross River virus is the most common mosquito-borne pathogen in Australia, and approximately 5000 human cases are reported annually. The infection is not fatal, but there is considerable morbidity associated with a debilitating polyarthritis that is the major symptom. The virus is annually active in most regions of Australia, but exists as strains that vary in virulence. Native macropods are thought to be the natural vertebrate hosts, although horses and humans may be involved during epidemic activity, and vertical transmission of the virus occurs in mosquitoes. Different mosquito species are involved as vectors in various regions and in different seasonal and environmental conditions. In coastal areas the saltmarsh mosquitoes Aedes camptorhynchus and Ae. vigilax are the most important vectors in southern and northern regions, respectively, whereas in inland areas Culex annulirostris is the most important vector, although various Aedes species can be involved depending on region and conditions, and the epidemiology of the disease and vector control imperatives vary with circumstance concomitantly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Alphavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Alphavirus Infections / virology*
  • Animals
  • Culicidae / virology
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Ecology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / virology
  • Mosquito Control
  • Ross River virus / physiology*