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What Is Rift Valley Fever?

Autor:   •  June 19, 2017  •  Case Study  •  521 Words (3 Pages)  •  153 Views

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What is Rift Valley fever? Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute, fever-causing viral disease that affects domestic animals (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels) and humans. RVF is most commonly associated with mosquito-borne epidemics during years of unusually heavy rainfall. The disease is caused by the RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus in the family Bunyaviridae. The disease was first reported among livestock by veterinary officers in Kenya in the early 1900s. Where is the disease found? RVF is generally found in regions of eastern and southern Africa where sheep and cattle are raised, but the virus also exists in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa and in Madagascar. In September 2000, a RVF outbreak was reported in Saudi Arabia and subsequently Yemen. These cases represent the first Rift Valley fever cases identified outside Africa. RVF virus electron micrograph. Image courtesy, C. S. Goldsmith, M. D. Bowen and T. G. Ksiazek RVF virus primarily affects livestock and can cause disease in a large number of domestic animals (this situation is referred to as an "epizootic"). The presence of an RVF epizootic can lead to an epidemic among humans who are exposed to diseased animals. The most notable epizootic of RVF, which occurred in Kenya in 1950-1951, resulted in the death of an estimated 100,000 sheep. In 1977, the virus was detected in Egypt (probably exported there in infected domestic animals from Sudan) and caused a large outbreak of RVF among animals and humans. The first epidemic of RVF in West Africa was reported in 1987 and was linked to construction of the Senegal River Project. The project caused flooding in the lower Senegal River area and altered interactions between animals and humans resulting in transmission of the RVF virus to humans. How is RVF virus spread among animals? An epizootic of RVF is generally observed during years in which unusually heavy rainfall and localized flooding occur. The excessive rainfall allows mosquito eggs, usually of the genus Aedes, to hatch. The mosquito eggs are naturally infected with the RVF virus, and the resulting mosquitoes transfer the virus to the livestock on which they feed. Once the livestock is infected, other species of mosquitoes can become infected from the animals and can spread the disease. In addition, it is possible that the virus can be transmitted by other biting insects. How do humans get RVF? Humans usually get RVF through bites from infected mosquitoes and possibly other biting insects that have virus-contaminated mouthparts. Humans can also get the disease if they are exposed to the blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected animals. Direct exposure to infected animals can occur during slaughter or through veterinary and obstetric procedures. Infection through aerosol transmission of RVF virus has occurred in the laboratory environment.

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