Rift Valley Fever

RIFT VALLEY FEVER

WHAT IS RIFT VALLEY FEVER ?

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease spread through infected mosquito bites. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with the blood, with the body fluids or with the tissues of contaminated animals, such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and camels. 

Most of the victims of Rift Valley fever either don’t show any sign of the disease or only experience mild symptoms, such as a fever, weakness, back pain, dizziness and weight loss. Most of the victims of Rift Valley fever fully recover in a few days. However, in some cases, the disease can result in serious complications, like severe bleeding, swelling of the brain and eye diseases. Although this is very rare, permanent loss of vision or death may occur.

WHAT IS THE RISK FOR TRAVELERS ?

The travelers going to Africa can be at risk for Rift Valley fever, especially if they sleep outdoors or if they are in frequent close contact with animals. It is important to note that the number of cases significantly increases after heavy rainfalls and floods.

HOW TO PREVENT RIFT VALLEY FEVER ?

There is currently no vaccine or effective medicine to prevent Rift Valley fever. When traveling to Africa, you must protect yourself efficiently against mosquito bites.

  • Wear protective clothes, like long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats.
  • Apply mosquito repellent on exposed skin. Preferably use a repellent offering long lasting protection and containing a high percentage of active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or IR3535. Always follow product instructions and avoid applying repellent in your eyes, in your mouth and on your hands. It is possible to combine sunscreen and mosquito repellent (apply the sunscreen first).
  • You can also use Permethrin-treated clothing and equipment. It is possible to purchase pre-treated items in specialized shops, but you can also apply Permethrin on your own clothes and gear (like pants, socks, boots and tents). Handle Permethrin with caution and avoid direct contact with your skin. Permethrin provides optimal protection against mosquitoes, even after several washes.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned environment whenever possible.
  • Always sleep under a mosquito net, especially if you sleep outside or if your room is exposed outdoors.

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF MOSQUITO BITES ?

If you are bitten by a mosquito, avoid scratching the affected area. Immediately apply hydrocortisone-based cream or calamine lotion to soothe the itch.

IF YOU FEEL SICK :

If you feel sick after traveling in Africa and you think that you may be infected with Rift Valley fever, you must see a doctor immediately. Inform him/her of the areas you have visited and of your activities there.


We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, it is impossible for us to make changes on a daily basis.

For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.