Rift Valley Fever

Below you will find more information about Rift Valley Fever from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Rift Valley Fever it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Rift Valley Fever and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Rift Valley Fever comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a type of viral zoonosis; meaning, it primarily affects domestic livestock, but can be transmitted to humans. It is most commonly spread among humans through bites of infected mosquitoes or direct contact with infected animals.

Diagnosis

Rift valley fever may be suspected if a huge number of young livestock dies simultaneous with a lot of humans suddenly becoming ill. In animals, tissue biopsies can be done to determine the infection. Diagnosis in affected humans can include serology (screening for IgM antibodies) and virus isolation. Naturalization tests to determine leukocytosis, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, or schistocytes in blood samples can be done to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment

There is currently no specific treatment for rift valley fever. Therapy of afflicted humans usually focuses on managing symptoms. Ribavirin and convalescent plasma are sometimes used as pharmacological interventions.

Symptoms and Signs

In affected humans, Rift Valley Fever can manifest with a variety of symptoms. Most cases may be asymptomatic or present only with mild headaches, fever, myalgia, and liver abnormalities. At the onset, infected patients can suffer from generalized weakness, fever, nausea, backaches, and weight loss. Recovery typically takes 2-7 days from the onset of the disease. In less than two percent of cases, the disease can progress to inflammation of the brain (meningoencephalitis), hemorrhagic fever syndrome, or eye disorders. Approximately one percent of infected humans may die from severe complications. Among infected livestock, the percentage can be significantly higher.

Causes

Rift Valley Fever is caused by the RVF virus, which is a member of the Phlebovirus genus (Bunyaviridae family). Human outbreaks are usually caused by mosquito bites or direct contact with infected goats, sheep, cattle, buffalo, and other livestock. RFV outbreaks commonly occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and occurrences of outbreaks in other regions are rare.

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