Global Alert and Response (GAR)

2000 - Rift Valley fever in Saudi Arabia

18 September 2000

Disease Outbreak Reported

As of 17 September, the Health Ministry of Saudi Arabia reported 16 deaths in humans, 14 males and 2 females, from Rift Valley fever in the Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Laboratory confirmation of the disease was made by the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. A total of 38 suspected cases has been reported. No additional cases have been reported in the past two days.

The Health Ministry is implementing control measures, including the rapid disposal of dead animals and intensive application of insecticides to eradicate mosquitoes and larvae. Health education messages about handling sick and dead animals and ways to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes are also being disseminated to the population in the affected region.

The Yemen Ministry of Health sent a team to the area bordering Saudi Arabia to intensify surveillance for human and animal disease. No suspect cases have been reported in Yemen.

Prior to this report, Rift Valley fever has been confined to the African continent.

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