Seven new RVF human cases confirmed

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pretoria - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has confirmed seven new human laboratory cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF). This pushes up the number of confirmed cases to 39.

Cases of RVF, which have been confined to the Free State and Northern Cape provinces since the first human laboratory case was confirmed on 13 February, have now spread to the Eastern Cape.

Of the confirmed cases, 34 are in the Free State, three in the Eastern Cape and two in the Northern Cape.

Infected humans were found to have had direct contact with RVF-infected livestock or linked to farms with confirmed animal cases of RVF, said the Department of Health.

"The human cases are farmers, veterinarians and farm workers," the department said on Friday.

RVF is a viral disease that can cause severe disease in a low proportion of infected humans. Humans become infected from contact with infected tissues of livestock and less frequently from mosquito bites.

RVF symptoms usually last from four to seven days, after which the immune response becomes detectable with the appearance of antibodies and the virus gradually disappears from the blood.