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Rift Valley fever (RVF) is one of the most serious transboundary animal diseases. It is a mosquito-borne viral disease, which causes periodic severe epidemics, principally involving ruminant animals. RVF is also an important zoonosis and one of the significant acute haemorrhagic fevers affecting human beings. Until recently it had only been recognized in the African continent, but in 2000 it occurred in the Arabian Peninsula. As well as its severe socio-economic and public health consequences, RVF is a major constraint to international livestock trade.

Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) for the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) are those diseases that are of significant economic, trade and/or food security importance for a considerable number of countries; which can easily spread to other countries and reach epidemic proportions; and where control/management, including exclusion, requires cooperation among several countries. The International Office of Epizootics (OIE) International Animal Health Code includes RVF in List A diseases, defined as "communicable diseases which have the potential for serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders; which are of serious socio-economic or public health importance; and which are of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products".

This manual provides information on the nature of RVF and the principles and strategic options for its prevention, control and elimination. Guidelines are provided for individual countries threatened by RVF to formulate their overall national policy on control and eradication of a possible incursion of the disease. The manual also identifies personnel, equipment and other facilities that are needed in a national RVF contingency plan. An outline of suggested format and contents of a national RVF contingency plan is provided as a guide but should be modified to suit the needs and circumstances of individual countries.

Due consideration was given to the provisions in the OIE International Animal Health Code in the preparation of the manual. It is suggested that the manual be used in conjunction with the Manual on the preparation of national animal disease emergency preparedness plans (FAO, 1999a) cited below.

Sources of information recommended for use with this manual include:

Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) Disease Strategy. 1996. Rift Valley fever, 2nd ed. Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand.

FAO. 1999a. Manual on the preparation of national animal disease emergency preparedness plans. FAO Animal Health Manual No. 6. Rome.

FAO. 1999b. Manual on livestock disease surveillance and information systems. FAO Animal Health Manual No. 8. Rome.

FAO. 2001. Manual on procedures for disease eradication by stamping out. FAO Animal Health Manual No. 12. Rome.

FAO. 2002. Manual on the recognition of Rift Valley fever. FAO Animal Health Manual. Rome. (in preparation)

International Office of Epizootics. 2000. Manual of standards for diagnostic tests and vaccines, 4th ed. Paris.

International Office of Epizootics. 2001. International Animal Health Code: mammals, birds and bees, 10th ed. Paris.

Swanepoel, R. & Coetzer, J.A.W. 1994. Rift Valley fever. In Infectious diseases of livestock with special reference to Southern Africa, Vol. 1, p. 687-717. (J.A.W. Coetzer, G.R. Thomson & R.C. Tustin, eds.) Cape Town, Oxford University Press.

The manual will be reviewed regularly and revised in the light of experience. Suggestions and recommendations for any amendments should be sent to:

EMPRES (Livestock)
Animal Health Service
FAO Animal Production and Health Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
Tel.: +39 06 57054798/4184
Fax: +39 06 57053023
E-mail: [email protected]

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