[Truncated abstract] Ross River virus (RRV) causes the most common arboviral disease in Australia, with approximately 5000 new cases reported each year, making this virus a major public health concern. The aim of this thesis was to link results from virological, pathogenesis and epidemiological studies to further define RRV disease in the south-west (SW) of Western Australia (WA), a region of endemic and epizootic RRV activity. A crosssectional seroprevalence study was used to show that 7.8 percent of SW communities were seropositive to RRV, comparable to other regions of Australia with similar temperate climates to the SW . . . RRV-specific IgM antibodies were found to persist for at least two years following RRV infection. A murine model was used to conclusively show differences in pathogenesis between RRV genotypes, the SW and northern-eastern (NE) genotypes, which are known to circulate throughout Australia. The SW genotype, unique to the SW of WA induced only poor neutralising antibody production and nonneutralising antibodies after the acute phase of infection. In comparison, the NE genotype which currently predominates in mosquito populations in the SW of WA, induced the most efficient neutralising antibody response and consequently produced the mildest disease in the mouse. These data in the mouse suggest that the infecting genotype will mostly likely influence disease outcome in humans and could at least partially explain why more severe and persistent disease has been reported from the SW of WA. Collectively, results from this thesis provide an important benchmark against which future investigations into BFV and RRV diseases can be measured.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2006|