Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is mosquito-borne virus that is endemic in parts of Africa. It primarily infects animals like sheep, cattle and goats and it can have an economic impact on a community due to the loss of livestock.

East Africa Image/Reubot
East Africa
Image/ Reubot

Last month, several federal health agencies including the NOAA, USDA and the CDC released a report concerning the risk of RVF outbreaks in East Africa due to El Niño.

The NOAA says the current El Niño will likely peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16 and end up being among the strongest El Niño episodes since 1950.

According to the Emerging Health Risk Notification, El Niño and Rift Valley fever (RVF) risk, east Africa, published 3 weeks ago, the several federal agencies developed a RVF outbreak forecasting model that uses satellite-derived data, drawing on the tight coupling between RVF activity and El Niño-driven flooding said it identified areas at risk for RVF activity because of substantially elevated rainfall in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania noting assistance likely is needed to minimize RVF impacts in east Africa.

In addition to RVF effect on animals, humans can get infected through contact with infected animal blood or organs and through mosquito bites and the bites of blood-sucking flies.

The agencies offer the following recommendations concerning preparation in East Africa: Animal and human surveillance and health education, animal vaccination programs and vector control.