Three more catch Rift Valley Fever

2010-03-27 13:41

THREE more people have been infected with Rift Valley Fever (RVF),

bringing the total to 63 of laboratory confirmed human cases, the department of

health has said.

Spokesperson Charity Bhengu said of the 63 cases of infected

people, 54 cases and two deaths were from Free State, four in Eastern Cape and

five in Northern Cape.

“Direct contact with RVF-infected livestock and or linked to farms

with confirmed animal cases of RVF, remain the main risk factor for the

infection. The human cases are farmers, veterinarians and farm workers.

Additional suspect cases are currently being tested.”

Rift valley fever is a viral infection that can cause severe

disease in a low proportion of infected humans.

The virus is transmitted bymosquitoes and causes outbreaks of

abortion and deaths of young livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle.

“It is important to note that, humans become infected from contact

with infected tissues of livestock and less frequently from mosquito bites,”

said Bhengu.

Seventy thousand animals have been vaccinated in Free State to

contain the spread of the virus, according to the department of agriculture.

The first human victim of the sickness was identified in the Free

State on February 13.

Since then, the illness has been primarily clustered within the

Lejweleputswa District and Bultfontein area of the Free State.

Animal infections had rapidly spread to most districts with

spillover into the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng.

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