FAO, IGAD warn of Rift Valley fever outbreak in eastern Africa

Rift Valley Fever

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a trade bloc in Africa, on Thursday warned of an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Eastern Africa.

The agencies issued an alert, asking countries in the region to increase awareness, improve preparedness at national, subnational and community levels to safeguard livestock, livelihoods, and public health, especially for exposed and vulnerable communities, including farmers and pastoralists.

“Concerns remain for large, predicted hotspots in central-southern Kenya, South Sudan, northern Tanzania and localized hotspots in Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, as well as in eastern Saudi Arabia and Yemen,” the agencies said in the alert.

Areas to be worst affected are those close to irrigated lands, swamps and land with a high density of livestock. The rainfall forecast for the June-August period highlights above-average rains in the region, particularly in July and August, suggesting that the risk remains high in the countries, noted the agencies.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is an endemic vector-borne zoonotic disease that is a threat to humans and animals. The epidemiology of RVF is complex, making monitoring of risk and carrying out efficient control measures challenging.

Heavy rains and prolonged flooding increase habitat suitability for vector populations, determining massive breeding of RVF competent mosquitoes (Aedes and Culex) and thus increasing the risk of an outbreak. Enditem

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