Submitted to: American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a serious viral disease of animals and humans in Africa and the Middle East that is transmitted by mosquitoes. First isolated in Kenya during an outbreak in 1930, subsequent outbreaks have had a significant impact on animal and human health, as well as national economies. The disease is of concern to international agricultural and public health communities. The USDA-ARS has assembled an International “One Health” multidisciplinary team of government and university scientists who are developing novel methods to conduct surveillance and control of RVF in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Information is also being generated for risk assessment of RVF importation. Cooperative research has determined that U.S. mosquito species are capable of becoming infected and transmitting RVF. It has also been demonstrated that variation exists in the vector capacity of two geographically distinct US populations of the same mosquito species. This information is necessary for effective targeted vector control. Diagnostic reagents and assays that are safe to produce and use have been developed and are being evaluated and field-tested with international partners in Canada, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and Yemen. Tools for evaluating current and new vaccines have been developed with many of these same international partners. New research on the ecology of RVF transmission has permitted development of a highly accurate forecasting system based upon global climate variability, permitting early warning for disease outbreaks of up to one year. This information has been used for timely targeted implementation of disease mitigation for both animals and humans in the Horn of Africa in 2006-2007, and in southern Africa in 2008-2010. The risk monitoring and mapping system permits focused and timely implementation of disease control strategies several months before an outbreak. These research products and the international multidisciplinary team that is being developed will allow for timely, targeted implementation of mosquito control, animal quarantine, vaccine strategies, and public education to reduce or prevent animal and human disease.