December 21, 2007 (GENEVA) — The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday warned that Rift Valley Fever (RVF) has spread rapidly in Sudan, with 218 fatalities and 631 infections since its outbreak in October.
The current estimates are a steep rise from the November figures provided by Sudan’s health ministry which spoke of 362 cases, including 94 deaths, WHO said in a statement.
Human infections of RVF result from direct or indirect contact with blood or organs of infected animals, according to WHO, which can include contact with blood during butchering, assisting with animal births, or disposing of carcasses.
Humans have also become infected after being bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus, or after drinking unpasteurised milk.
The virus was first identified among sheep in the Rift Valley of Kenya in 1931. While it has spread through sub-Sahran and North Africa, the first cases of RVF were reported in Saudi Arabia and Yemen in 2000.