RIFT VALLEY FEVER (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and tech)

News-CRUX-10     14th June 2024        

Context: A recent study published in the BMJ Global Health journal has revealed that the geographical range of Rift Valley fever disease clusters is expanding across eastern Africa.

Rift Valley Fever Disease

  • About: It is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but also has the capacity to infect humans.
  • Transmitted by: Mosquito
  • Caused by: Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV)
  • Infection: In humans, the disease ranges from a mild flu-like illness to severe haemorrhagic fever that can be lethal. 

oWhen livestock are infected the disease can cause significant economic losses due to high mortality rates in young animals and waves of abortions in pregnant females.

  • First identified in: 1931 in Kenya.
  • First reported cases: Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
  • Treatment and vaccines: As most human cases of RVF are relatively mild and of short duration, no specific treatment is required for these patients. For the more severe cases, the predominant treatment is general supportive therapy.

Recent Findings: 

  • A BMJ Global Health study challenges previous perceptions of RVF, suggesting it primarily occurs in small clusters rather than large outbreaks, and its association with El Niño is less pronounced than previously thought.
  • The study analyzed factors like altitude, soil type, rainfall, temperature, vegetation index (NDVI), livestock systems, land-use changes, and climatic variations influencing RVF occurrence.
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