• Rift Valley Fever – Uganda: Kabale

    Kabale district has recorded another case of the hemorrhagic Rift Valley fever, barely 2 months after it was declared free of the epidemic.

    Dr Alex Andema, the Kabale regional referral hospital director confirmed that one person was admitted at the hospital after developing signs and symptoms of the deadly fever.

    Samples were taken from him and taken to Uganda Virus Laboratory in Entebbe and the results came out positive.

    The fever is usually spread though handling of products of infected animals. “The vast majority of human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood or organs of infected domestic animals. The virus can be transmitted to humans through the handling of animal tissue during slaughtering or butchering, assisting with animal births, conducting veterinary procedures, or from the disposal of carcasses or fetuses,” he said.


    “There is no doubt the threat is real, we need to see how to put our hands together so that we can fight this epidemic,” Said Dr Andama.

    This is the 2nd outbreak of the Rift Valley fever in Uganda in less than 2 months. The disease was first recorded in Kenya in 1931 and later in the 1990s in Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

    Outside Africa, the disease has been reported in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

    Communicated by: ProMED-mail

    Rift Valley fever virus is endemic in Uganda and human cases occur there sporadically. Over the past 3 months, no mention is made of cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in domestic animals in the area where the human cases occurred. Farm animals are the main reservoirs and amplifiers of RVF virus. RVF outbreaks very often involve significant numbers of ill and dead small ruminant animals.

    It is odd that no small ruminant animal cases are mentioned, unless the animals had been vaccinated previously and are immune. RVF virus can persist for a long time in some areas, maintained in _Aedes_ vector mosquitoes that deposit eggs in seasonally-flooded areas, where those eggs are transovarially infected with the virus. Adult female mosquitoes coming from infected eggs can transmit the virus during their 1st blood meals. Eradicating the virus from these areas is not possible with current technology.

    Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a major zoonotic disease caused by a virus of the genus _Phlebovirus_ of the family _Bunyaviridae_. The virus affects different animal species (buffaloes, camels, cattle, goats, and sheep) and can pass to humans either by direct contact through blood or body fluids during slaughter or ingestion of contaminated meat or indirectly through arthropod biting, especially by mosquitoes of the genus _Aedes_.


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