Rift Valley Fever

In humans, the virus can cause several syndromes. Usually, sufferers have either no symptoms or only a mild illness with fever, headache, muscle pains, and liver abnormalities. In a small percentage of cases (< 2%), the illness can progress to hemorrhagic fever syndrome, meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and tissues lining the brain), or affect the eye.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a severe, fever-causing viral disease most commonly observed in domesticated animals (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels), with the ability to contaminate and trigger illness in people. The disease is brought on by RVF virus (RVFV), a member of the genus Phlebovirus in the household Bunyaviridae. It was first reported in livestock by veterinary officers in Kenya’s Rift Valley in the early 1910s.

Rift Valley Fever Spread Areas

RVF is generally found in regions of eastern and southern Africa where sheep and livestock are raised, but the infection exists in most of sub-Saharan Africa, including west Africa and Madagascar. In September 2000, a RVF outbreak was reported in Saudi Arabia and consequently, Yemen. This outbreak represents the very first cases of Rift Valley fever determined outdoors Africa.

Outbreaks of RVF can have significant societal impacts, consisting of considerable financial losses and trade decreases. The virus most typically affects animals, causing disease and abortion in domesticated animals, an important earnings source for many. Outbreaks of disease in animal populations are called “epizootics.” The most significant RVF epizootic happened in Kenya in 1950-1951, leading to the death of an estimated 100,000 sheep.

Furthermore, epizootic outbreaks of RVF increase the possibility of contact in between infected animals and humans, which can lead to upsurges of RVF in human beings. One example happened in 1977 when the infection was found in Egypt (perhaps imported from infected domestic animals from Sudan) and caused a big outbreak of RVF among both animals and human beings leading to over 600 human deaths. Another example of RVF spillover into human populations occurred in west Africa in 1987, and was connected to building and construction of the Senegal River Project. The project caused flooding in the lower Senegal River area, changing eco-friendly conditions and interactions in between animals and humans. As a result, a large RVF break out took place in animals and humans.

Rift Valley Fever Transmission Facts

People are contaminated with RVF virus (RVFV) through contact with blood, body fluids, or tissues of RVFV-infected animals, mainly livestock. This direct contact with contaminated animals can occur during massacre or veterinary treatments, like assisting the animal with giving birth. Infection through breathing in beads contaminated with RVFV (aerosol transmission) has happened in the laboratory setting. Less frequently, people can be contaminated with RVFV from bites of infected mosquitoes and, seldom, from other biting insects that have the virus on their mouthparts. Spread from person to individual has not been documented.

Several mosquito species can spread RVF infection and these differ by area. Ecological influences, especially rainfall, are an essential danger aspect for break outs in both animals and individuals. RVF break outs have been observed throughout years with unusually heavy rains and localized flooding.

The transmission cycle of RVFV can appear like this:

  • The virus can be spread from female mosquitos to their offspring through the eggs (vertical transmission).
  • In the eggs, the infection stays practical (transmittable) for several years during dry conditions.
  • Excessive rains enables more mosquito eggs to hatch.
  • As mosquito populations increase, the potential for the infection to infect the animals and people likewise increases
  • RVFV break outs in animals, many commonly livestock, cause increased handling of contaminated animals, which then increases threat of direct exposure to the virus for individuals.

Symptoms of Rift Valley Fever

RVF virus has an incubation duration of 2-6 days following infection and can cause numerous different disease syndromes. Many frequently, people with RVF have either no symptoms or a mild disease associated with fever and liver abnormalities. Clients who end up being ill typically experience fever, generalized weakness, pain in the back, and dizziness at the onset of the disease. Generally, clients recuperate within two days to one week after beginning of illness.

Information verified by the iytmed.com team.

However, a small portion (8-10%) of individuals contaminated with RVFV establish a lot more extreme symptoms, consisting of:

  • Ocular disease (illness affecting the eye), which in some cases accompanies the mild symptoms described above. Lesions on the eyes may happen 1-3 weeks after start of initial symptoms with clients reporting blurred and reduced vision. For many patients, lesions vanish after 10-12 weeks; nevertheless, for those with sores occurring in the macula, approximately 50% of patients will have long-term vision loss.
  • Sleeping sickness, or inflammation of the brain, which can lead to headaches, coma, or seizures. This happens in less than 1% of patients and provides 1-4 weeks after first symptoms appear. Though death from this is rare, neurological deficits, in some cases severe, might persist.
  • Hemorrhagic fever, which occurs in less than 1% of total RVF patients, however death for those who do establish these symptoms, is around 50%. Symptoms of hemorrhaging might begin with jaundice and other signs of liver problems, followed by throwing up blood, bloody stool, or bleeding from gums, skin, nose, and injection sites. These symptoms appear 2-4 days and death generally occurs 3-6 days after.


Throughout the early stage of illness in the blood and in postmortem tissue, the infection may be found by virus isolation in cell culture, antigen-detection ELISA, and molecular techniques (PCR). Antibody testing utilizing enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) can be utilized to verify existence of IgM antibodies, which look like an early, transient reaction, and IgG antibodies, which continue for several years. Both IgM and IgG antibodies specify to RVF virus.

How Is Rift Valley Fever Treated?

Since a lot of human cases of RVF are mild and self-limiting, a particular treatment for RVF has actually not been developed. The uncommon, but serious, cases are normally restricted to encouraging care.

The most typical issue related to RVF is inflammation of the retina (a structure linking the nerves of the eye to the brain). As an outcome, roughly 1%– 10% of affected clients may have irreversible vision loss.

Prevention Tips

An individual’s opportunities of becoming infected can be lowered by taking procedures to reduce contact with blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected animals and safeguarding themselves versus mosquitoes and other bloodsucking bugs. Use of mosquito repellents and bednets are 2 effective techniques. For individuals dealing with animals in RVF-endemic areas, using protective equipment to avoid any exposure to blood or tissues of animals that might possibly be infected is an important protective measure.

A number of questions and challenges stay in the control and avoidance of RVF. Understanding concerning virus upkeep and transmission within different mosquito species and the risk aspects related to serious cases of RVF in humans are still under examination. Possibly, establishing ecological tracking and case security systems may assist in the forecast and control of future RVF break outs.

No vaccines are presently offered for human vaccination.

Different kinds of vaccines for veterinary usage are offered. The eliminated vaccines are not useful in routine animal field vaccination since of the requirement of numerous injections. Live vaccines need a single injection however are known to trigger abnormality and abortions in sheep and induce just low-level security in cattle. The live-attenuated vaccine, MP-12, has actually demonstrated appealing results in lab trials in domesticated animals, but more research study is required before the vaccine can be utilized in the field. The live-attenuated clone 13 vaccine was recently signed up and used in South Africa. Alternative vaccines using molecular recombinant constructs remain in advancement and reveal promising outcomes.

In addition, monitoring (close monitoring for RVF infection in animal and human populations) is necessary to learning more about how RVF virus infection is sent and to develop effective procedures for lowering the variety of infections.

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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