A comparison of the diseases caused by Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus

Med J Aust. 1998 Aug 3;169(3):159-63. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1998.tb116019.x.


Barmah Forest virus (BFV) and Ross River virus (RRV) are mosquito-borne viruses with similar vectors and environmental requirements. They cause diseases characterised by arthralgia, arthritis and myalgia, often accompanied by fever and rash. Arthritis is more common and more prominent in RRV disease and rash is more common and florid with BFV infection, although the diseases cannot be reliably distinguished by their clinical symptoms. Diagnosis is based on serological tests and a definite diagnosis of recent infection requires the demonstration of rising titres of IgG. Arthralgia, myalgia and lethargy may continue for at least six months in up to half of patients with RRV, but in only about 10% of patients with BFV. Both diseases are managed symptomatically.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Alphavirus Infections / immunology
  • Alphavirus Infections / transmission
  • Alphavirus* / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Culicidae / virology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Ross River virus* / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G