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Rift Valley fever is one of the most significant zoonotic disease problems in Africa. The occurrence of the highly fatal haemorrhagic human disease syndrome, similar to Ebola and other haemorrhagic fevers, generates a degree of panic among the human populations at risk. RVF is highly contagious for humans if animals are viraemic at the time of slaughtering. In susceptible livestock populations, it is responsible for large numbers of abortions and stillbirths. However, one of RVF’s greatest impacts is upon trade in livestock. Even if the disease tends to disappear after epizootics, livestock bans may last for several years, severely affecting the livelihood of pastoralists.

This manual aims at helping staff from veterinary services and laboratories to recognize the disease rapidly when it occurs. It provides an overview of the disease, describes clinical signs and the most important differential diagnosis, and guides the user on how to proceed if a case of RVF is suspected.

The manual is part of a series prepared by FAO’s Emergency System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) livestock unit, as an aid to emergency preparedness for the major transboundary diseases of livestock.

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