FAO Warns Rift Valley Fever may Spread in Sudan

by Medindia Content Team on Nov 24 2007 7:09 PM

The UN food agency warned Friday that Rift Valley Fever could spread in Sudan with the transport of millions of sheep, goats and camels around the country ahead of the December 20 Eid-al-Idha holiday.

The animals are slaughtered on the Muslim holiday in commemoration of Abraham's faith, and the meat is then distributed to the poor and needy.

People can become infected with the deadly viral disease through mosquito bites or direct contact with infected meat and blood during the time of slaughter, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said.

More than 160 people have died so far of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), mainly in Sudan's White Nile, Sennar and Gazeera states, according to the UN World Health Organisation, with the most rapid increase in human cases recorded in Gazeera.

Farmers have informed UN and Sudanese veterinarians of animals showing typical signs of the disease such as diarrhoea, nasal discharges and abortion, the FAO said in a communique.

In response to recent RVF outbreaks, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have banned livestock imports from Sudan.