Still recovering from a single bite

December 05, 2017


It was almost a year ago when Sophie Fimmel contracted Ross River virus.

The Shepparton mother said although she had been able to return to work for three days each week, she felt as though the virus was yet to fully leave her system.

She said the fatigue and pain was gone.

‘‘It took a good three months, but I still had shoulder and knee pain,’’ she said.

‘‘It was probably six months before I could go back to the gym.

‘‘But I don’t think it’s 100 per cent gone; my knuckles can still get quite swollen and sore.’’

Mrs Fimmel was struck down with the illness in December last year after just one mosquito bite had her contract the virus.

After waking up with a rash all over her body, Mrs Fimmel visited her doctor and tested positive to Ross River virus.

‘‘I was in a lot of pain,’’ she said at the time.

‘‘All my joints — my wrists, knees, and fingers — were all inflamed.’’

Mrs Fimmel described the pain at the time in her knees as feeling like someone had taken a sledgehammer to the joint.

Reflecting on her experiences, Mrs Fimmel said the symptoms progressively became worse before they began to improve.

‘‘At first I had the joint pain and about halfway through I got really fatigued as well; then after that I had fever-like symptoms,’’ she said.

Bed rest was recommended; Mrs Fimmel said this was the key in overcoming the virus and she urged those who contracted Ross River virus to do the same.

‘‘Absolutely take it easy,’’ she said.

‘‘Don’t push yourself.’’

Although she was warned falling ill after contracting the virus could cause prolonged sickness, Mrs Fimmel was fortunate not to experience this.

‘‘I only got sick once this year and they say it prolongs it, but that didn’t happen,’’ she said.

Ms Fimmel said the experience had caused her to always use an insect repellent.

In the period between January 1 this year to November 26, there were 1945 cases of Ross River virus infection recorded per 100000 people across Victoria.

The statistic is alarming when compared with previous years in the same time period, in which there were just 185 cases last year, 292 in 2015 and 176 in 2014 in Victoria.

Source: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

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