Rift Valley fever in Kenya: history of epizootics and identification of vulnerable districts.
ABSTRACT Since Kenya first reported Rift Valley fever (RVF)-like disease in livestock in 1912, the country has reported the most frequent epizootics of RVF disease. To determine the pattern of disease spread across the country after its introduction in 1912, and to identify regions vulnerable to the periodic epizootics, annual livestock disease records at the Department of Veterinary Services from 1910 to 2007 were analysed in order to document the number and location of RVF-infected livestock herds. A total of 38/69 (55%) administrative districts in the country had reported RVF epizootics by the end of 2007. During the 1912-1950 period, the disease was confined to a district in Rift Valley province that is prone to flooding and where livestock were raised in proximity with wildlife. Between 1951 and 2007, 11 national RVF epizootics were recorded with an average inter-epizootic period of 3·6 years (range 1-7 years); in addition, all epizootics occurred in years when the average annual rainfall increased by more than 50% in the affected districts. Whereas the first two national epizootics in 1951 and 1955 were confined to eight districts in the Rift Valley province, there was a sustained epizootic between 1961 and 1964 that spread the virus to over 30% of the districts across six out of eight provinces. The Western and Nyanza provinces, located on the southwestern region of the country, had never reported RVF infections by 2007. The probability of a district being involved in a national epizootic was fivefold higher (62%) in districts that had previously reported disease compared to districts that had no prior disease activity (11%). These findings suggests that once introduced into certain permissive ecologies, the RVF virus becomes enzootic, making the region vulnerable to periodic epizootics that were probably precipitated by amplification of resident virus associated with heavy rainfall and flooding.
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ABSTRACT: Health researchers have advocated for a cross-disciplinary approach to the study and prevention of infectious zoonotic diseases, such as Rift Valley Fever. It is believed that this approach can help bring out the social determinants and effects of the zoonotic diseases for the design of appropriate interventions and public health policy. A comprehensive literature review using a systematic search strategy was undertaken to explore the sociocultural and economic factors that influence the transmission and spread of Rift Valley Fever. Although the findings reveal a paucity of social research on Rift Valley Fever, they suggest that livestock sacrificial rituals, food preparation and consumption practices, gender roles, and inadequate resource base for public institutions are the key factors that influence the transmission. It is concluded that there is need for cross-disciplinary studies to increase the understanding of Rift Valley Fever and facilitate appropriate and timely response and mitigation measures. ©The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 02/2015; DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0363 · 2.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreaks in Kenya have increased in frequency and range to include northeastern Kenya where viruses are increasingly being isolated from known (Aedes mcintoshi) and newly-associated (Ae. ochraceus) vectors. The factors contributing to these changing outbreak patterns are unclear and the population genetic structure of key vectors and/or specific virus-vector associations, in particular, are under-studied. By conducting mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses on >220 Kenyan specimens of Ae. mcintoshi and Ae. ochraceus, we uncovered high levels of vector complexity which may partly explain the disease outbreak pattern. Results indicate that Ae. mcintoshi consists of a species complex with one of the member species being unique to the newly-established RVF outbreak-prone northeastern region of Kenya, whereas Ae. ochraceus is a homogeneous population that appears to be undergoing expansion. Characterization of specimens from a RVF-prone site in Senegal, where Ae. ochraceus is a primary vector, revealed direct genetic links between the two Ae. ochraceus populations from both countries. Our data strongly suggest that unlike Ae. mcintoshi, Ae. ochraceus appears to be a relatively recent, single 'introduction' into Kenya. These results, together with increasing isolations from this vector, indicate that Ae. ochraceus will likely be of greater epidemiological importance in future RVF outbreaks in Kenya. Furthermore, the overall vector complexity calls into question the feasibility of mosquito population control approaches reliant on genetic modification.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 12/2014; 8(12):e3364. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003364 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ijara district in Kenya was one of the hotspots of Rift Valley fever (RVF) during the 2006/2007 outbreak, which led to human and animal deaths causing major economic losses. The main constraint for the control and prevention of RVF is inadequate knowledge of the risk factors for its occurrence and maintenance. This study was aimed at understanding the perceived risk factors and risk pathways of RVF in cattle in Ijara to enable the development of improved community-based disease surveillance, prediction, control and prevention. A cross-sectional study was carried out from September 2012 to June 2013. Thirty-one key informant interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders to determine the local pastoralists' understanding of risk factors and risk pathways of RVF in cattle in Ijara district. All the key informants perceived the presence of high numbers of mosquitoes and large numbers of cattle to be the most important risk factors contributing to the occurrence of RVF in cattle in Ijara. Key informants classified high rainfall as the most important (12/31) to an important (19/31) risk factor. The main risk pathways were infected mosquitoes that bite cattle whilst grazing and at watering points as well as close contact between domestic animals and wildlife. The likelihood of contamination of the environment as a result of poor handling of carcasses and aborted foetuses during RVF outbreaks was not considered an important pathway. There is therefore a need to conduct regular participatory community awareness sessions on handling of animal carcasses in terms of preparedness, prevention and control of any possible RVF epizootics. Additionally, monitoring of environmental conditions to detect enhanced rainfall and flooding should be prioritised for preparedness.The Onderstepoort journal of veterinary research 11/2014; 81(1). DOI:10.4102/ojvr.v81i1.780 · 0.62 Impact Factor