The sera of 468 blood donors and 63 domestic animals, collected from the south coast of New South Wales, were tested for the presence of antibodies to Ross River virus. Antibodies were detected in 7% of human sera, 25% of cow sera and 65% of horse sera. Using the blood donors as 'human sentinels', seroconversions were demonstrated in two donors from the Nowra-Kiama region and from a patient in the same area; none of the three had been outside of the study area during the period of seroconversion or at the time of infection. Of the 15 seropositive horses, 6 (40%) had lived continuously since birth on the farms on which they were bled. That humans and horses were infected with Ross River and not a related alphavirus was shown by microneutralization tests against Ross River virus and the other two alpha-viruses (Getah, Sindbis) known to occur in Australia.
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