Ross River virus — are we wasting money doing tests?

Ian R Cheong
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05118.x
Published online: 3 February 2003

To the Editor: I was pleased to read the article on Ross River virus (RRV) disease by Mylonas and colleagues,1 because it included information on the cost of the disease. This makes it much easier to do something practical from a government and health economics perspective about the problem of RRV. The cost of $1018 per patient, including costs of negative tests looking for cases, sums to a total estimated cost to the nation of $5 million per annum (based on the reported average of 5000 cases per year in the study by Harley and colleagues2). Of note, $567 was spent per patient on diagnostic tests (56% of the total cost per patient), while the authors noted that in many cases the condition was self-limiting.


  • 1. Mylonas AD, Brown AM, Carthew TL, et al. Natural history of Ross River virus-induced epidemic polyarthritis. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 356-361. <eMJA full text>
  • 2. Harley D, Bossingham D, Purdie DM, et al. Ross River virus disease in tropical Queensland: evolution of rheumatic manifestations in an inception cohort followed for six months. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 352-355. <eMJA full text>


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