News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New journal article: Epidemiological assessment of the Rift Valley fever outbreak in Kenya and Tanzania in 2006 and 2007

Livestock keepers can play a key role in veterinary surveillance as part of preparedness and response plans for future outbreaks of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in East Africa, according to new research published in the August 2010 supplement of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Researchers from the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), together with partners from the veterinary services of Kenya and Tanzania, carried out epidemiological studies shortly after an outbreak of RVF in the two countries in 2006-07.

The objective of the studies was to document the key lessons learned from the outbreak as tools to inform veterinary preparedness and response plans for future outbreaks of RVF in East Africa.

Pastoralist communities, especially the Somali of Northeastern Kenya, made key epidemiological observations such as unusually heavy rains and flooding before the outbreak, as well as unusually high cases of illness and death in their flocks consistent with RVF.

These changes were observed well in advance of the detection of RVF by the veterinary surveillance system.

Similarly, human cases consistent with RVF were noted by the livestock-keeping communities well in advance of the detection by the public health surveillance system.

The studies also found that emergency vaccination to control the spread of RVF in response to an early warning may not be a cost-effective strategy, given the constraints linked to timely manufacture and procurement of large quantities of vaccines and delivery to affected areas.

"Priority should be placed on developing combined economic and epidemiologic models that evaluate the economic benefits achieved by different disease prevention and control decisions at critical points before and during outbreaks," the authors conclude.

Read the abstract here

Citation
Jost C, Nzietchueng S, Kihu S, Bett B, Njogu G, Swai ES and Mariner JC. 2010. Epidemiological assessment of the Rift Valley fever outbreak in Kenya and Tanzania in 2006 and 2007. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 83(2 Suppl): 65-72.

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