Nelly Bassily | December 10, 2007
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is working with authorities in Sudan to prevent the spread of Rift Valley Fever among livestock in eastern parts of the country.
More than 160 people have died in the current outbreak of Rift Valley Fever. Experts say that by the time the disease reaches humans, it is usually well-established in animal populations such as cattle and sheep. Humans can become infected when they handle infected animals, or the blood or tissue of infected animals. Mosquitoes can also transmit the disease from infected animals to humans.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is supporting Sudan’s efforts to test and quarantine animals in high-risk areas. These include areas where there have been human cases of Rift Valley Fever, where livestock have shown signs of the disease, or where there are high concentrations of mosquitoes or other insects that can spread the disease.
The most obvious signs of Rift Valley Fever in livestock are death of young animals and spontaneous abortion, as most pregnant animals who contract the disease will abort their fetuses.
The World Health Organization has advised people who handle sick animals or slaughter animals to wear protective equipment, including gloves and masks. People are also advised to guard against mosquito bites.