Environment, water and agriculture ministry initiative to prevent RVF outbreak

To prevent the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) outbreak, the ministry of environment, water and agriculture initiated the process of seeking assistance from specialized companies providing veterinary services, local media reports said.

RVF affects both animals and humans. It is an acute, fever-causing viral disease most commonly observed in domesticated animals; (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels), with the ability to infect and cause harm to humans too.

RVF virus has an incubation period of 2-6 days following infection and can cause several different disease syndromes. Documenting no human-to-human transmission.

In 2018, the ministry of environment, water and agriculture signed a SR47mn contract to provide veterinary services to the RVF control program, for a period of 36 months.

The project aims to raise the level of coverage of these services to combat Rift Valley Fever.

RVF was first reported in livestock by veterinary officers in Kenya’s Rift Valley in the early 1910s. It is is generally in regions of eastern and southern Africa where sheep and cattle are; but the virus exists in most of sub-Saharan Africa, including west Africa and Madagascar.

In September 2000, a RVF outbreak took place in Saudi Arabia and subsequently, Yemen. This outbreak represents the first cases of RVF identified outside Africa.

Last October, the Kingdom banned importing livestock from Sudan and Djibouti. The ministry ban was a response to the announcement of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE); concerning documented cases of RVF in Sudan.

In addition, a sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was positive and thus was not cleared.

Saudi Arabia imported 5mn heads of cattle from Sudan and 700,000 from Djibouti; during the last Hijri year, prior to the ban.

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