Silent Circulation of Ross River Virus in French Polynesia

Int J Infect Dis. 2015 Aug:37:19-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2015.06.005. Epub 2015 Jun 15.


Objectives: Ross River is an emerging mosquito-borne disease in the Western Pacific. Ross River virus (RRV) circulation has been sporadically reported in some Pacific Island Countries and Territories but never in French Polynesia. To determine if RRV has circulated locally among the French Polynesian population, we conducted a seroprevalence study on blood donors.

Methods: Sera of 593 blood donors were collected from July 2011 to October 2013 and tested by ELISA for the presence of RRV-specific Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.

Results: A total of 204 (34.40%) blood donors were found seropositive for RRV. Among the 132 blood donors that were born in French Polynesia and had never travelled abroad, 56 (42.42%) had RRV-specific IgGs.

Discussion: Our results support the existence of autochthonous RRV transmission and suggest that this pathogen has silently circulated in French Polynesia. These findings raise the question of possible undetected circulation of RRV in other Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Keywords: Blood donors; French Polynesia; Ross River; Seroprevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alphavirus Infections / blood
  • Alphavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Blood Donors
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / blood
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Culicidae
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polynesia / epidemiology
  • Ross River virus / immunology
  • Ross River virus / isolation & purification*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G