Sixty-three RVF human cases confirmed

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pretoria - The number of people infected with Rift Valley Fever (RVF) has increased to 63 with three more cases confirmed recently, said the Department of Health.

The mortality rate remains unchanged at two.

The National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) said of the 63 cases of infected people, 54 cases and 2 deaths are in the Free State, four in the Eastern Cape and five in the Northern Cape.

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.

Outbreak investigations by the Departments of Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are ongoing, supported by the South African Field Epidemiology and Training Programme (SA-FELTP) and NICD.

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.

"It is important to note that, humans become infected from contact with infected tissues of livestock and less frequently from mosquito bites," the Department of Health said.

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.

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