2. South Africa: Farmers advised to protect themselves against Rift Valley Fever (News 24, IRIN)

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Heavy rains have brought disease to parts of South Africa. There has been an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in the provinces of Free State and Northern Cape.

Officials say the outbreak is under control. But they warn farmers to use gloves and protective clothing when they come into contact with animal blood, organs, or flesh – for example, during animal birthing or slaughter. People in Free State and Northern Cape are also advised not to consume fresh blood, milk, or meat.

Rift Valley Fever is transmitted amongst animals by mosquitoes. It causes abortion and death in young sheep, cattle, and goats. It can be transmitted to humans through contact with the blood, organs, or flesh of infected animals. Symptoms in humans include mild fever, headaches, and muscle pain.

As of March 9, one person in South Africa had died from the outbreak. Five others tested positive for Rift Valley Fever. More than 1,000 livestock have died.