An acute fever which originates from RV virus infected animals such as cattle, sheep, camels & goats which spreads to humans via infected mosquitoes is rift valley fever. The blood or body fluids of an infected sheep, goats, camel can also lead to rift valley fever in humans if they are in direct touch with.
Can You Die from Rift Valley Fever?
The answer to the question – can you die from rift valley fever is not quite simple. Usually, rift valley fever is not severe and does not result into life threatening symptoms or conditions. However, the possibility of death due to rift valley fever cannot be ruled out completely. In a few cases, it can lead to some severe conditions including Encephalitis and Hemorrhagic Fever where there is a 50% chance of death.
Rift Valley Fever is fast spreading viral fever that can affect humans as well as animals such as goats, sheep and cattle. Mosquitoes are one of the main carriers of rift valley virus from animals to humans and vice-versa. A mosquito when fed on any infected human or animal carry the virus to other humans when they bite them.
How to Prevent Rift Valley Fever?
The best way to prevent rift valley fever is to limit human access to farms and also breaking the life-cycle of mosquitoes. Following steps must be taken to prevent rift valley fever:
- The movement of the animals should be prevented or restricted to make sure that they do not get infected by other animals or spread the infection to others. The first step to preventing the access is to have just one entrance at your farm. This will help you monitor and control the people visiting the farm. If there is an outbreak of rift valley fever in your area, stop the movement of your cattle in or out of your farm. Place alarming sign boards in front of your farm to prevented visitors from entering or touching the cattle. It is important that we prevent the spread of rift valley fever amongst animals as the virus can be easily carried off from animals into the humans. Preventing animals from rift valley fever is important to prevent ourselves from catching it.
- Monitoring the cattle regularly for any symptoms of rift valley fever. If any unusual signs or symptoms are observed, it is important that you report it immediately to your herd veterinarian.
- Mosquitoes are the main carriers of virus that causes rift valley fever. Thus, destroying the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes will prevent the rift valley fever from spreading. The common breeding that can be easily avoided includes old tyres, stock tanks, bird baths, uncovered pots etc…
- Taking necessary steps to prevent mosquito bites. This will include not sleeping in the open or inside without mosquito net, spraying mosquito killers at home etc…
- Using personal protective equipment such as gloves, respirator etc… while working with the animals that are suspected or confirmed to be infected with rift valley fever.
Breaking the life cycle of the mosquitoes prevents rift valley fever. It is important to understand the life cycle of a mosquito to prevent it and avoid the virus from spreading. The female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the stagnant water or at the edge of the water bodies. The first of the life cycle is eggs. The next stage is the larva that hatches out from the eggs. These larvae further grow to become pupa. Eventually, these pupas would turn into fully grown mosquito. The first step to prevent rift valley fever is to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs by not providing them the breeding grounds. Both larva and pupa need water to survive until they develop into a fully grown mosquito. They can be easily killed at this stage by using certain pesticides that are approved in your region.
Vaccination for Preventing Rift Valley Fever
Medical experts have managed to develop vaccine for preventing rift valley fever in humans but it is still in the testing phase. Thus, there are no vaccines available so far in the market for humans. However, there are various types of vaccines available for the veterinary.
- Live Vaccine: This is the first vaccine that was released for use in animals. It only requires single injection for preventing animals from the rift valley fever. However, it is known to cause birth defects including abortion in sheep. Thus, it is not a preferred option.
- Live Attenuated Vaccine (MP-12): This is the second generation of the live vaccines that is safer and provider better protection from the rift valley fever. However, it is still being tested to make sure that it is absolutely safe for the animals.
- Live Attenuated Clone 13 Vaccine: It is a recently developed vaccine that is widely used in South Africa for prevention of rift valley fever in animals.