Uncommon Investigations – Barmah Forest Virus

02 June 2023

SA Pathology performs over 15m tests a year from a catalogue of over 4,000 pathology tests.

With so many on offer, the variety and scope of testing is wide and far-reaching.

Let’s take a closer look at Barmah Forest Virus - what it is and when you would test for current or past exposure to this interesting bacteria.

What is Barmah Forest Virus?

Barmah Forest Virus is related to Ross River Virus and is spread by infected animals to humans by mosquitos. The main animals to contract the virus are native creatures such as wallabies and kangaroos.

The virus is named after the forest in Victoria, where it was first isolated in 1974.

Why are people tested for Barmah Forest Virus?

Infected mosquitos carry this disease and so anyone bitten may be at risk. This virus is native to Australia and cannot be caught overseas.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually do not appear for 7-10 days after contracting the virus.

Once they do, they include:

  • Rash, usually on the body or limbs
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Joint pain, which may last over 6 months
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen lymph glands

A blood test is required to diagnose the virus.

How is Barmah Forest Virus treated?

There is no specific antiviral treatment available.

Instead, it is recommended to increase fluid intake and ingest paracetamol regularly.


For detailed information about pathology tests and specific conditions visit pathologytestsexplained.org.au

Time for your next blood test? Find a collection centre closest to you.

To book a specialised test call us on 8222 3000.

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