Two RVF deaths confirmed

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretoria - The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed 32 human laboratory cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and two deaths.

A total of 31 human cases and two deaths were confirmed in the Free State with one case reported in the Northern Cape.

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.

The Health Department said most of the cases reported direct contact with RVF-infected livestock and or linked to farms with confirmed animal cases of RVF.

"The human cases are farmers, veterinarians and farm workers," the department said, adding that additional suspect cases are currently being tested.

The department said there was no specific treatment for RVF and no routine vaccine available for humans.

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.

The outbreak among people is still confined in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces.

Outbreak investigations by Health, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department are being supported by the South African Field Epidemiology and Training Programme and National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

The Outbreak Response Team is working around the clock to contain the spread, the department said.

Two cases of Congo Fever have also been confirmed in the Free State and Northern Cape.