The paper "Critical Evaluation of a Published Paper on Ross River Virus Risks in Tropical Australia by Harley, D" is a perfect example of an article on environmental studies. Ross River virus came into limelight first in 1928 in New South Wales' Narrandera and Hay region. The first time the virus was isolated was in 1959 from Townsville, Queensland mosquito trapped along the Ross River. To date, almost the whole of Australia has seen outbreaks of the Ross River virus and the largest outbreak has affected more than 60,000 people between 1979-1980.
This outbreak affected the Western Pacific more than any other region. The outbreak was normally referred to as epidemic polyarthritis before the virus was identified (National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance, 2008). This is a mosquito-borne infectious disease and is characteristic of polyarthritis and influenza-like symptoms (Morrison et al, 2007). The most affected regions in Australia include Northern Territory, tropical Western Australia, and Queensland, mostly during wet seasons of summer and autumn. The higher population of mosquitoes coincides with higher rainfall. Since in Australia different regions have higher rainfall in different months, Ross River virus gets active in these corresponding months.
Lagoons and backwaters are breeding grounds for these mosquitoes. For these outbreaks, higher risk areas are wetlands, marshes farms with irrigation systems, and waterways. Females and males are equally affected in the age group of 25 to 44 years old. Ross River fever is on the notifiable diseases list of the Department of Health and Ageing. Transmission takes place through mosquitoes only and the disease is not contagious. Wallabies, kangaroos, horses, possums and even flying foxes and birds have been identified as reservoir hosts and to date, as many as 30 species have been identified as possible vectors.
However, Aedes vigilax, Culex annulirostris, and Ae. camptorhynchus have been identified as major species responsible for transmission. The severity of the disease determines the symptoms involved, which range from arthritis, arthralgia, rash, and fever. Children present with asymptomatic symptoms and the average seven to nine days has been observed as the incubation period (Harley et al, 2001; Harley et al, 2002)). During the twin decades of the 1980s and 1990s, it was seen that symptoms like fatigue, arthralgia, and depression lasted for many years after the virus infected someone.
Recent studies have remarked that arthralgias got resolved maximum up to seven months. That way the infection has been equated with Q fever and Epstein-Barr virus. Since no analytical studies were conducted until 2004 on individual risks for RRV, this study was conducted with an intention to explore the same. The study also wanted to study protective factors in a high incidence area with an underlying thought of assessing the utility of case-control design.
In order to reach a conclusion a matched case-control design was employed on new cases that emerged in the community in some specific areas which included Mareeba, Cairns, Douglas, and Atherton; all falling within high incidence area of Queensland. The risks were assessed on the statistical parameters.
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