By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

In a follow-up on the Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak in the African country of Mauritania, between September 4 to November 7, a total of 214 people were sampled and their samples have been sent to the National Institute for Public Health Research (INRSP) for laboratory testing with a total of 75 testing positive for RVF (RT-PCR and serology by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Positive cases have been reported in 11 of 15 regions of the country: Brakna, Trarza, Gorgol, (on the border with Senegal), Adrar, Assaba, Hodh El Gharby, Hodh El Chargui, Guidimaka (on the border with Mali) and Nouakchott Sud, Nouakchott Ouest and Tagant. The Tagant region is the most affected (38/75, 51%) with principal hotspot districts being Tidjikja and Moudjeria.

Thus far a total of 25 deaths have been reported from this outbreak.

Outbreaks in animals have also been confirmed in the regions of Assaba, Tagant, Brakna, Trarza, Hodh El Gharbi and Hodh El Chargui. The results of 557 animal samples taken as of 15 October 2020 showed that 74 camels, 52 small ruminants and 12 cattle were positive for Rift Valley Fever.

RVF outbreaks have been reported previously in Mauritania, and the country has experienced six major outbreaks in the past (1987, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2015) affecting several departments in the regions of Brakna, Tagant, Assaba, Adrar, Inchiri, Trarza, Hodh Elgharby and Hodh El Chargui.

The current outbreak affecting human and animals occurred after heavy, unusual and prolonged rainfall in the regions with high animal density which contributed to the proliferation of vectors and the spread of the virus.

During hot seasons, people spend more time in rural areas with history of RVF transmission, resting at night in the open air. This could be a risk factor for exposure to mosquitoes and others vector of the disease. It is likely that the season change from November to February (temperate season) could limit the transmission of the disease with the due the reduction of the proliferation of mosquitoes.