Govt Warns of Rift Valley Fever Outbreak During El Nino Rains


The Ministry of Agriculture on Friday warned about the imminent outbreak of Rift Valley fever which is expected to occur in the next few weeks.

In a statement shared on Friday, September 15, the Ministry of Agriculture warned that the disease outbreak may strike the country during the El Nino rains.

The government projects that the outbreak is likely to culminate in the death of domestic animals due to its contagious nature.

Consequently, the Mithika Linturi led Ministry has instructed veterinary doctors to follow the agreed and harmonised contingency plan drafted by experts.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi during a Sunday service in Meru County on September 10, 2023.


Mithika Linturi

The Ministry of Agriculture has also asked farmers to monitor the disease and ensure that they report any signs of Rift Valley fever to veterinary doctors within their vicinity.

The Ministry is also working with other government agencies to prepare for a possible RVF outbreak. This includes stocking up on essential supplies, such as vaccines and medications, and training health workers to respond to an outbreak.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral disease that can affect both animals and humans. It is caused by the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a member of the Phlebovirus genus in the family Bunyaviridae.

The virus is mainly found in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

RVF is spread by mosquitoes, which become infected when they feed on the blood of an infected animal. The virus can also be spread through contact with the blood or tissues of an infected animal, or through contact with the milk or urine of an infected animal.

“I remember the 1997 El Nino. We lost many sheep and goats; they were affected by Rift Valley fever,” Livestock keeper, Loise Oldukunyi explained.

Symptoms of RVF in animals vary depending on the species. In livestock, the most common symptoms are fever, abortion, eye and nasal discharge, and death.

In sheep, RVF can also cause jaundice and edema. In camels, RVF can cause neurological symptoms, such as tremors and paralysis.

Symptoms of RVF in humans are similar to those of the flu, but can also include jaundice, bleeding, and death. The severity of the disease depends on the person’s immune system and the amount of virus they are exposed to.

There is no specific treatment for RVF, but supportive care can help to improve the chances of survival. This includes fluids, electrolytes, and medication to control fever and pain. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua inspecting cattle at his Mathira farm in Iruri Village on April 22, 2023.



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