Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Rift Valley fever in South Africa

As of 27 March 2010, the Ministry of Health South Africa has reported 63 human cases infected with Rift Valley Fever (RVF), including two deaths in Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces. Most of these cases reported direct contact with RVFV-infected livestock and or linked to farms with confirmed animal cases of RVF. The human cases are: farmers, veterinarians and farm workers. All cases were confirmed with RVF by test conducted at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. (see link below)

There is an ongoing outbreak of Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) infection affecting sheep, goats, cattle and wildlife on farms within Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng provinces. As of 29 March 2010, approximately 78 farms reported laboratory-confirmed animal cases, with extensive livestock deaths. (see link below)

Outbreak investigations by the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are ongoing, and are being supported by the South African Field Epidemiology and Training Programme (SA-FELTP) and NICD. The Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture are taking measures to enhance disease surveillance among cattle and in managing the control of the disease outbreak.

Sporadic cases of RVF infection in animals have been documented in South Africa in recent years. The last major outbreak of the disease in humans occurred between 1974-76, where an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 cases were affected.

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