Rift valley fever: causes and symptoms

Rift Valley Fever: Causes and Symptoms


Rift valley fever is an acute viral disease that causes fever in domestic animals like camels, goats, sheep, buffalo, and cows. It may also affect humans in some cases. RVF is commonly related to mosquito-borne diseases and occurs mostly in the areas of heavy rainfall, such as the southern and eastern regions of Africa. The peak time of spreading this fever is during the season of heavy rainfall.

This viral disease is caused by the RVF virus. It was first reported in Kenya among the livestock by a veterinary officer in the early 1900s. It is found in research, that the virus of Rift Valley Fever can spread through mosquito bites and enter human cells with the help of a protein.

The virus is mosquito-borne and can also spread through the bite of other insects. The person who is exposed to RVF-causing mosquitoes can get easily infected. However, it can also transmit from one person to another via body fluids and blood transfusion. The tissues of infected cattle can also transmit this virus. Usually, the symptoms appear only after two to six days the person gets infected. RVF can also cause various other disease syndromes. Let us know about the signs or symptoms of Rift Valley fever.

Symptoms of Rift Valley Fever

Rift valley fever

  • A person, who is infected with the RVF virus may typically either have no symptoms or show slight illness related to liver abnormalities and fever.
  • Usually, the symptoms are experienced at the onset of the disease. Patients may come across extreme weight loss, dizziness, back pain, generalized weakness, and fever.
  • Some other symptoms may also include loss of appetite, muscle pain, photophobia, that is intolerance to light, and prostration in men.
  • Typically it takes two to seven days for a patient with Rift Valley Fever virus to recover after the onset of the illness.
  • According to the studies, 8 to 10% of the infected patients can even develop a severe form of the disease, including encephalitis and hemorrhage.
  • However, the condition of hemorrhage is seen only in less than 1% of the patients. This may lead to bleeding from the nose, skin, and gums, jaundice, and shock.
  • The fatality rate in the case of a hemorrhagic fever can even reach up to 50%.
  • The condition of encephalitis occurs in around 1% of the patients. It may also cause inflammation of the brain leading to seizures, coma, or headache.
  • In some cases, it is also seen that the patients get lesions on the eyes after one 1-3 weeks of the onset of infection. It can cause decreased and blurred vision. These lesions may disappear in 10 to 12 weeks.
  • Half of the patients who suffer from ocular disease will lose their vision permanently.
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