An isolated outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) has been detected on a single farm in the Jacobsdal area of Free State, South Africa, bordering Northern Cape.
A total of 250 sheep deaths/abortions were documented and laboratory confirmed on 16 May 2018. No human cases have been detected to date.
RVF is a viral zoonotic disease that primarily affects animals, but also has the capacity to infect humans. People are infected with RVF virus through contact with blood, body fluids, or tissues of RVF virus-infected animals, mainly livestock. This direct contact with infected animals can occur during slaughter or veterinary procedures, like assisting an animal giving birth. Less commonly, people can be infected with RVF virus from bites of infected mosquitoes and, rarely, from other biting insects that have the virus on their mouthparts. Spread from person to person has not been documented.
A widespread RVF epidemic occurred in South Africa in 2010-2011 with more than 14,000 animal cases recorded in 8 of 9 provinces. During this period the NICD confirmed a total of 278 human cases, of which 25 were fatal. The majority of humans infected during the 2010-2011 outbreak were farm workers and animal health personnel exposed through direct contact with infected animals.
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