Experts warn of Rift Valley Fever outbreak

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) have urged  East African countries to create awareness and increase preparedness due to a potential outbreak of the Rift Valley Fever.

The RVF warnings are predicted to be on the rise following the impact of El Nino on livestock and human health in the regions.

“Therefore, FAO and IGAD are advising the countries to increase awareness, improve preparedness at national, sub-national, and community levels to safeguard livestock, livelihoods, and public health, especially for exposed and vulnerable communities (farmers, pastoralists), and improve coordination with public health and environment services around the on-going risk of RVF outbreaks,” read a statement by the agencies. 

The latest forecast is attributed to the persistence of environmental conditions that are highly suitable for vector amplification in the regions.

The outbreak is predicted to affect parts of Eastern Africa until June 2024.
“The sustained downpours are suitable environmental conditions for potential RVF vector amplification, abundance and dissemination, resulting into extensive hotspots for RVF that are forecasted to persist in the Region (South Sudan, Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, and parts of Madagascar), until the end of June 2024,” said UN agency, FAO. 

The agencies have urged the national veterinary authority to increase awareness about the disease.

FAO further reiterated that livestock and human health workers should be equipped and trained to implement plans in case of an outbreak.

They should also be able to conduct possible active RVF surveillance, especially in high-risk areas.