Rift Valley Fever- What you need to know about this condition
The Rift Valley Fever (RVF) has been discovered in the early 1930s, but still, the majority of people don’t even really know what it is? This disease mainly affects the animals, but it also has the ability to infect the human being.
It was discovered in the Rift Valley that is located in Kenya and that’s where its name come. However, this disease has now reached in the regions of Southern & Eastern Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and many other nearby countries.
What is Rift Valley Fever Virus?
Rift Valley Fever can be defined as the acute and viral disease that can cause mild to severe symptoms in the animals as well as humans. This disease mainly spread by the bite of mosquitoes and has affected Africa, Egypt, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. However, this infection hasn’t reached to the countries like the United States, Canada, and Mexico yet.
The major animals who get affected by this virus are sheep, goats, cats, dogs, monkeys, camels, water buffalo and cattle. Even, the newborn kittens and puppies can have the symptoms of Rift Valley Fever Virus. It is a zoonotic disease that can also spread to the humans by having contact with the infected livestock.
Major outbreaks of the Rift Valley Fever in the history?
There are many outbreaks of RVF that have resulted in many social impacts, including reductions in trade and a lot of economic losses. The most common effect of this disease is on livestock that results in abortion in the domesticated animals. It leads to the reduction in the source of income for many people.
Outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever are known as epizootics in animals and there are many notable cases in the history. One of the popular epizootic takes place between 1950-1951 when more than 100,000 sheep lost their lives in Kenya. Another one takes place in Egypt in 1977 that results in more than 600 human deaths. All these incidents prove that this disease needs to be studied and taken care seriously.
What are the major Rift Valley Fever Symptoms?
The symptoms of this disease can show up anywhere between the period of two to seven days after the entry of the virus into the body. The Rift Valley Fever Virus can cause many disease syndromes in the body and its symptoms are same as that can be seen in the patient dealing with the seasonal flu.
Look at the main mild forms of symptoms experienced by the body during this disease:
The most common type of symptom that can be found in almost every patient with this virus is a fever. Generally, the people don’t care about this symptom as it is associated with many minor infections.
There is a chance that the infected person might experience additional symptoms like a headache, joint pain, vomiting, muscle pain, etc.
Loss of Appetite & Nausea
The patients also have to deal with nausea, loss of appetite and light sensitivity in some of the cases.
The mild symptoms of Rift Valley Fever can last anywhere between 4 to 8 days in a normal patient.
In some cases, the symptoms become worse and result in mild conditions for people. There are very low chances that milder symptoms can develop in humans. However, a small number of people still develop it and have to face worse circumstances. Here are some of the severe symptoms of RVF virus:
Ocular Eye Disease
The symptom is seen in almost 1.5% of patients who get infected by this disease.
There is a 1% chance that this condition might develop in the infected patient.
This symptom has been recorded in less than 1% people.
What are the main causes of Rift Valley Fever?
The RVF virus comes from the family of Bunyaviridae virus and mostly affects animals like cattle, sheep, and goats. Generally, the infected animals experience miscarriages in most of the cases and even it causes deaths in younger animals. The Rift Valley fever virus mainly spreads through the livestock by the bite of a mosquito.
How Rift Valley Fever Transmitted in Humans?
There are many ways through which this disease can enter the human body. Some of the major ways are mentioned below:
Breathing in an infected environment
The human body is always at risk while living around a place where the animal with this virus is butchered. The virus can enter the body by breathing in the infected air.
Infected mosquito bite
More than half of the total infection caused when an infected mosquito bites the humans. The normal mosquitoes get affected by this virus when they bite an animal having the Rift Valley Fever virus. This disease can pass to the humans if the same mosquitoes bite them.
Touching an infected animal
An infection can be transmitted to the humans by touching an animal having this virus. The people living near the animals or working in the farms have greater chances of getting infected with the virus.
Drinking raw milk of an infected animal
If an individual drinks the raw milk of an infected animal, then the virus can easily enter the body. That’s why it is generally advised by the doctors to boil the milk before drinking.
The virus is not transmitted from one individual to another. The chances of getting infected from the RVF reaches to its peak during the rainy season.
How is Rift Valley Fever Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of this virus is very difficult to perform in the early stages as the majority of its symptoms vary and nonspecific. Additionally, the symptoms are similar to the majority of viral fevers like Typhoid, Yellow fever, Hemorrhagic fevers, and Malaria.
You have to visit the reference laboratories who have the exact equipment that can detect the Rift Valley Fever Virus. There is a range of tests performed to figure out this infection:
- IGM Antibody Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
- Virus Isolation
- Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Rift Valley Fever Treatments
Till now, there are no antiviral medicines and treatments that can be prescribed by the doctors. Recently, the researchers have worked on a new medicine known as Ribavirin that has shown wonderful results on Monkeys. The medicine can be used on the human in the near future.
Presently, there is only supportive treatment available in the medical industry that is prescribed by the doctors. These medicines can help the patients in recovering with this disease. In addition to that, the doctor suggests complete bed rest, plenty of liquid food and a healthy diet for having a faster recovery. If the symptoms don’t go away after a week, then you should contact the doctors for emergency medical services.
Tips to prevent Rift Valley Fever
As written in the statement above, there is no prescribed drug that can cure the RVF. Moreover, the chance of the mass vaccination looked slim due to the low mortality rate.
Check out some important tips that can help in preventing Rift Valley Fever Virus below:
Follow all the hygienic guidelines
It is important for the people whose job involved livestock or raw meat to follow the hygienic guidelines properly. They are at most risk of getting infected by the RVF.
Never eat sick animals
Avoid eating animals that are sick or died due to unknown causes. They might die due to the infection caused by the Rift Valley Fever.
Check out milk products before eating
You should never drink milk that is unpasteurized as it might contain infected contaminants. Additionally, accepts the milk products from unknown sources with great care.
Stop movements immediately
If the virus is confirmed in animals, then you should stop their movements immediately.
If you are working near the animals, then use protection against the mosquito bites by wearing equipment, such as a respirator, eye protection, and gloves by handling animals.
We hope that you have got all the information about the Rift Valley Fever now. There might not be cases of this virus in the North America and Europe, but still, protection should be used while working near animals. If you have any suggestion or question regarding this article, write in the comment box.