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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 17  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 768 - 779

Ross River Virus (RRV) Infection in Horses and Humans: A Review

K. Dhama, S. Kapoor, R.V.S. Pawaiya, S. Chakraborty, R. Tiwari and A.K. Verma    

Abstract: A fascinating and important arbovirus is Ross River Virus (RRV) which is endemic and epizootic in nature in certain parts of the world. RRV is a member of the genus Alphavirus within the Semliki Forest complex of the family Togaviridae, which also includes the Getah virus. The virus is responsible for causing disease both in humans as well as horses. Mosquito species (Aedes camptorhynchus and Aedes vigilax; Culex annulirostris) are the most important vector for this virus. In places of low temperature as well as low rainfall or where there is lack of habitat of mosquito there is also limitation in the transmission of the virus. Such probability is higher especially in temperate regions bordering endemic regions having sub-tropical climate. There is involvement of articular as well as non-articular cells in the replication of RRV. Levels of pro-inflammatory factors viz., tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); interferon-gamma (IFN-γ); and macrophage chemo-attractant protein-1 (MAC-1) during disease pathogenesis have been found to be reduced. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the most advanced molecular diagnostic tool along with epitope-blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting RRV infection. Treatment for RRV infection is only supportive. Vaccination is not a fruitful approach. Precise data collection will help the researchers to understand the RRV disease dynamics and thereby designing effective prevention and control strategy. Advances in diagnosis, vaccine development and emerging/novel therapeutic regimens need to be explored to their full potential to tackle RRV infection and the disease it causes.

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