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Med J Aust. 1997 Nov 17;167(10):525-8.

Self-reported morbidity of Barmah Forest virus infection on the north coast of New South Wales.

Author information

1
Northern Rivers Institute of Health and Research, Lismore, NSW. jbear@doh.health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the clinical features and disability associated with Barmah Forest virus (BFV) infection.

DESIGN:

Retrospective postal survey.

SETTING:

North Coast Public Health Unit, Lismore, New South Wales, January to October 1995.

SUBJECTS:

All 84 subjects notified by mandatory laboratory reporting as positive for BFV IgM by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Demographic information, self-reported symptoms, disability and treatment.

RESULTS:

Response rate was 77%. Peak incidence was in the 30-50 years age group, with almost identical numbers of men and women affected. The most common symptoms were lethargy (89%), joint pain (82%) and rash (68%). These were also generally the first symptoms to appear. Thirty of 54 respondents (56%) reported time off work and 27 of 53 (51%) reported illness lasting more than six months. Those who had a rash were significantly more likely to have recovered by the time of the survey than those who had no rash (odds ratio, 10.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.8-76.6). No treatment led to more than slight relief of symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

Symptoms of BFV infection appear similar to those of the better-known Ross River virus infection, and clinicians should consider both in patients with symptoms of arboviral disease. The wide distribution and long duration of illness make BFV a potentially significant cause of morbidity in Australia. A possible association between the presence of a rash and improved prognosis needs further investigation.

PMID:
9397039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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