Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Rift Valley Fever fatality in Western Cape

By Ofentse Mokae
29 April 2010

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases yesterday confirmed the first Rift Valley Fever fatality in the province since the outbreak in February this year.

The 49-year old male from the Karoo has been the first human to die from Rift Valley Fever in the Western Cape.

He died at the Oudtshoorn Hospital.

The NICD says it’s still investigating the patient’s source of exposure.

The provincial health department say it is unsure in which manner he contracted the disease.

There have been confirmed cases of Rift Valley Fever in animals in the Oudtshoorn area.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture also confirmed today that two alpaca’s have died from Rift Valley Fever on a farm in Simondium, outside Paarl.

According to the provincial government this is the latest confirmed case of
Rift Valley Fever in animals in the Province, and also the first case in the south western part of the province.

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe disease in a low proportion of infected humans.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes outbreaks of abortion and deaths of young livestock (sheep, goats and cattle).

Health MEC, Theuns Botha, said that health workers at hospitals and provincial health facilities in the Karoo and Boland have been alerted to lookout for symptoms of Rift Valley Fever among patients who visit their facilities.

Symptoms among humans include flu-like fever, muscle pain, joint pain and headache.

People, who have been exposed to raw meat sourced from possible infected animals, can be at risk, as well as people who have consumed unpasteurized milk from potentially infected animals.

Meanwhile the department of Agriculture suspects that the movement of infected animals could have been the cause of the disease’s appearance in the Paarl area.

However it says this case is an isolated one.

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