Rift Valley Fever

Outbreaks have occurred in Sub-Sahara Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and Somalia and are usually associated with heavy rainfall and flooding.

This disease is a viral hemorrhagic fever type transmitted by mosquitoes.

It also infects cattle, sheep, goats and camels.

People may also be infected through blood, meat, bodily fluids and milk of infected animals.

Some vaccines have been developed which are used for researchers but all are not widely available and the average traveler is at very low risk for this disease.

Avoiding potentially diseased carrying mosquitoes and livestock is still the best preventative measure.

Symptoms are similar to other infectious diseases and can be confused with meningitis.

Usually after an incubation period of 2-7 days a fever develops that peaks twice (the first occurring for 2-4 days followed by a break and then again).

Headache, muscle aches, and back pains are common.

Neck stiffness, vomiting and pain from bright lights (photophobia) can also occur.

Very severe cases may cause brain, liver or eye complications, usually in the first 3 weeks of illness with a high mortality rate. Diagnosis can be confirmed with blood tests for this virus's antigen.

There is no specific treatment for Rift Valley Fever since most are mild and limited infections, but supportive care can be done for the rare severe cases.

Rift Valley Fever Links

Special Pathogens Branch-CDC: Diseases-Rift Valley Fever http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/spb/mnpages/dispages/rvf.htm
NASA http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/17apr_rvf.htm
WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs207/en/