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Food Chain Crisis

Real-time monitoring and forecasting of Rift Valley fever in Africa

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne disease that severely impacts livelihoods, national and international markets, and human health. RVF is currently limited to Africa and parts of the Near East but has the recognized potential to expand globally. The disease in livestock is spread primarily by mosquitoes and the movement of animals. Clinical disease has been observed in sheep, goats, cattle, buffaloes, camels and humans. RVF is zoonotic. It can result in widespread febrile illness in humans, associated with severe and sometimes fatal sequelae in under one percent of cases.

Outbreaks of RVF are closely associated with climate anomalies such as periods of heavy rains and prolonged flooding, which increase habitat suitability for vector populations, thus influencing the risk of disease emergence, transmission and spread. In this context, Early Warning Systems represent an essential tool providing information on occurring animal health hazards that might evolve into disasters unless early response is undertaken. To enable national authorities to implement measures preventing outbreaks, FAO developed the RVF Monitoring/Early Warning System. This tool has been crucial to successfully forecast hotspots for RVF vector amplification, providing recommendations and early warning messages for countries at risk of RVF outbreaks.

Category Animal Health