Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BITING ARTHROPODS: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit

Title: Rift Valley Fever Overview and Recent Developments at USDA

Authors
item Linthicum, Kenneth
item Anyamba, Assaf -
item Gay, Cyril
item Britch, Seth
item Chretien, Jean-Paul -
item Witt, Clair -
item Small, Jennifer -
item Tucker, Compton -
item Bennett, Kristine
item Wilson, William
item Turell, Michael -

Submitted to: United States Animal Health Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2009
Publication Date: October 30, 2009
Citation: Linthicum, K., Anyamba, A., Gay, C.G., Britch, S.C., Chretien, J., Witt, C., Small, J., Tucker, C.J., Bennett, K.E., Wilson, W.C., Turell, M.J. 2009. Rift Valley Fever Overview and Recent Developments at USDA. United States Animal Health Association Proceedings. 112:256-265.

Interpretive Summary: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral disease of cattle, sheep, goats and humans that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Human can be protected from infection by using mosquito repellents and other mosquito control methods. Animals can be protected by vaccines in some parts of the world, if available, but no licensed vaccine is available in the U.S. We have developed a forecasting system based upon satellite measurements of ocean temperatures and vegetation development in Africa and the Middle East. These forecasting tools are used by countries at risk to mitigate the disease and help prevent its spread to new areas, such as the U.S.

Technical Abstract: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral disease with significant health and economic impacts to domestic animals and humans in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Human infections are believed to occur mainly from mosquito bites and from infectious aerosols. The available strategies for protection of humans are limited to use of mosquito repellents and other mosquito vector control. Epidemic disease can probably be prevented by vaccination of domestic animals which serve as virus amplifiers for arthropod transmission; however, there are no licensed vaccines available for use in the United States. Epizootics and epidemics of RVF are closely linked to the occurrence of the warm phase of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. We have developed a monitoring and risk mapping system using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) times series data derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument on polar orbiting National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites to map areas with a potential for an RVF outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa. This system is an important tool for local, national and international organizations involved in the prevention and control of animal and human disease, permitting focused and timely implementation of disease control strategies several months before an outbreak. A Geographic Information System (GIS)-based remotely sensed early warning system for potential RVF vectors in the U.S. and elsewhere is being developed. Mosquito forecasting information will be disseminated throughout the U.S., granting several months warning before conditions are suitable for elevated mosquito populations, permitting targeted implementation of mosquito control, animal quarantine and vaccine strategies in time to lessen or prevent animal and human disease.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014