In a follow-up on our report 10 days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports the confirmed Rift Valley Fever (RVF) outbreak in Mbarara District has increased to 20 human cases, including four fatalities.

WHO explains that on February 10, a butcher from Bwizibwera, a township in Kashari County, Mbarara District, presented to a private clinic with a history of fever and nosebleeding. The clinic staff suspected viral hemorrhagic fever and referred him to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH). The patient
died on arrival and was buried before samples could be collected.

Later in the month, the district surveillance team and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) team collected samples from farm workers. Of the 51 samples collected, five tested positive for RVF by polymerase chain reaction. These five individuals had been involved in the slaughter of a dead cow on a farm a village in Kashari District.

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The outbreak was first confirmed in animals in December 2022 when the veterinary sector reported cases of abortion in cows at one of the main farms in Kashari, Rwanyamahembe, Mbarara District.

WHO states: This highlights the importance of awareness of risk factors for RVF infection and protective measures to reduce human infections and deaths. As outbreaks of RVF in animals precede human cases, implementing preventive measures in animals and strengthening the active animal health surveillance system are essential to prevent human cases and provide early warning to veterinary and public health authorities of future outbreaks.