Rift Valley fever – a growing threat to humans and animals
Journal of Veterinary Research
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Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic, vector-borne infectious disease of ruminants and camels transmitted mainly by the Aedes and Culex mosquito species. Contact with the blood or organs of infected animals may infect humans. Its etiological factor is the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) of the Phlebovirus genus and Bunyaviridae family. Sheep and goats are most susceptible to infection and newborns and young individuals endure the most severe disease course. High abortion rates and infant mortality are typical for RVF; its clinical signs are high fever, lymphadenitis, nasal and ocular secretions and vomiting. Conventional diagnosis is done by the detection of specific IgM or IgG antibodies and RVFV nucleic acids and by virus isolation. Inactivated and live- attenuated vaccines obtained from virulent RVFV isolates are available for livestock. RVF is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but in the last two decades, it was also reported in other African regions. Seropositive animals were detected in Turkey, Tunisia and Libya. The wide distribution of competent vectors in non-endemic areas coupled with global climate change threaten to spread RVF transboundarily. The EFSA considers the movement of infected animals and vectors to be other plausible pathways of RVF introduction into Europe. A very low risk both of introduction of the virus through an infected animal or vector and of establishment of the virus, and a moderate risk of its transmission through these means was estimated for Poland. The risk of these specific modes of disease introduction into Europe is rated as very low, but surveillance and response capabilities and cooperation with the proximal endemic regions are recommended.
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