News24

Namibia praised for RVF fight

2010-07-28 17:06

Rome - The UN on Wednesday praised Namibia for its success in fighting a rare outbreak of Rift Valley Fever earlier this year, saying its swift response saved many lives.

Namibia's "alertness and prompt reaction prevented outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever in May 2010 from spreading, with potentially devastating consequences on lives, livelihoods and food security," said Jacques Diouf, the Director-General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Diouf, who was speaking at a meeting of Namibia's Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the capital Windhoek, had special praise for the country's meat industry for spotting and curbing the outbreak.

This "was all the more remarkable considering that Rift Valley Fever emerged in Namibia after an absence of 25 years, and almost all the staff involved had never had to fight the disease before," Diouf was quoted as saying in a statement from the Rome-based FAO.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes and can kill humans.

Rift Valley Fever is named after the Kenyan region where it was first diagnosed in 1931. The last major outbreak was in Yemen and Saudi Arabia in 2000.