"You really do suffer": Stawell's Terry Dunn speaks about 7 year battle with Ross River virus

COMMITTED: Stawell's Terry Dunn is determined to make the public more knowledgeable on Ross River virus. Picture: Anthony Piovesan
COMMITTED: Stawell's Terry Dunn is determined to make the public more knowledgeable on Ross River virus. Picture: Anthony Piovesan

From the moment Stawell’s Terry Dunn wakes up, he “staggers” to the door and battles through 15 minutes of muscle pain, before his body finally “limbers up”.

This has been Mr Dunn’s regular morning routine since he was diagnosed with Ross River virus in 2011 and then diagnosed with a re-infection in 2014.   

“It was early September in 2011 when I became aware something was not right health wise,” he said.

“I woke up one morning and my feet were so sore, the soles of my feet, I couldn’t walk without a walking stick.”

The symptoms dissipated, but then reappeared two weeks later when Mr Dunn got out of bed to attend a family event in Port Fairy.

“As soon as I got up I knew I could not go,” he said. 

“Not only my feet, but my legs were hurting, my shoulders were hurting, the muscles in my neck had seized up and i’ll never forget my hands and wrists.”

Mr Dunn is still battling these symptoms and will host a discussion night at Stawell Church of Christ on May 20 to spread awareness about the debilitating mosquito-borne disease. 

“Now it’s a regular part of my life and I don’t want to see others get it because I know the effect it has had on me,” he said.

As of January 1 this year until the end of February there had been 109 notified cases in the Grampians region, compared with six during the same time frame last year. 

Mr Dunn said he was told by health officials in 2011 there were only two or three people in the region living with the virus. 

“It used to be common for people who visited the Murray region, but now it is rife everywhere,” he said.

Mr Dunn could no longer ride a bike and struggled standing still without pain. 

“My left hand gets sore and swollen and I can’t grip things,” he said. 

“If I stand still I can instantly feel my feet and legs hurting. 

“You really do suffer.”

The Ross River support discussion night will start at 7pm. 

“I have been through the symptoms, I know what it does and it is time to warn others,” Mr Dunn said.