Eighty-seven RVF human cases confirmed

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pretoria - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed five new human laboratory cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF). This pushes up the number of confirmed cases to 87.

Of the 87 confirmed cases, 68 cases and four deaths are from the Free State, seven from the Eastern Cape, 11 cases and two deaths from the Northern Cape and one from the North West.

The Departments of Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, supported by the South African Field Epidemiology and Training Programme (SA-FELTP) and NICD continue to respond to the outbreak.

"Laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance interventions, health promotion interventions, environmental health measures, and management of confirmed cases are being prioritised," said the Department of Health.

Direct contact with RVF-infected livestock or farms linked to confirmed animal cases of RVF, remain the main risk factor for the infection. The human cases are farmers, veterinarians and farm workers. Additional suspect cases are currently being tested.

Affected farms are primarily clustered within the Free State and the department of Agriculture in the province has started the vaccination of animals, to contain the spread of the virus.

The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and North West provinces have also reported RVF among animals.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes termination of gestation and deaths of young livestock.

Humans become infected from contact with infected tissues of livestock and less frequently from mosquito bites.

The department has urged people living in the affected areas to seek medical attention at their nearest health facilities should they have any symptoms.