What is Rift Valley Fever?
Rift Valley fever is a disease which is spread to sheep, cattle and goats by mosquitoes, and it causes abortion and death of the animals. Humans become infected from handling sick animals, carcasses or meat, or less often from mosquito bites. The disease does not spread from one person to another.
Symptoms might include fever, headache, muscle or joint pains, neck stiffness, sore eyes and vomiting.
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention
Specialised laboratory diagnostic investigation for Rift Valley fever is required to confirm or exclude diagnosis. Typically, the viraemic phase of Rift Valley fever are so short (may be prolonged in more severe cases) and negative RT-PCR results does not exclude the diagnosis of a Rift Valley fever virus infection. Wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks when handling sick animals or carcasses. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Allow animals to be vaccinated against Rift Valley fever.
Notifiable medical conditions
Rift Valley fever in humans are Category 1 notifiable medical conditions in South Africa.