Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is a confirmed outbreak of the Rift Valley Fever in Kiruhura district. The disease, an acute viral hemorrhagic fever that is most commonly seen in domesticated animals, has so far claimed four lives, according to Kiruhura District Veterinary Officer Dr Grace Asiimwe.
Although it primarily affects animals, the virus can be transmitted to humans through the handling of animal tissue during slaughtering or butchering, animal births, conducting veterinary procedures, or the disposal of carcasses. Human infections have also resulted from the bites of infected mosquitoes.
Rift Valley Fever in animals presents with stormy abortions, emaciated looks and loss of appetite for food and water. In humans, the disease presents with bloody diarrhoea, malaise and loss of appetite.
Dr Asiimwe says that the disease has been spotted in Sanga Sub-county, Kinoni, Kigarama, and Rushere Town Council. The outbreak of Rift Valley Fever comes at a time when the same area is battling Foot and Mouth Disease, another infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals.(
Dr Asiimwe, says that the Rift Valley Fever vaccine is currently out of stock, and advised those who cannot procure from private suppliers to try preventive measures like sleeping in a mosquito net and avoid contact or eating meat from dead animals.
Kiruhura District Chairperson Dan Mukago says that this is the second time rift valley fever has hit the district, the first being in 2019. He says they are now sensitizing the population on how to overcome the disease, to file real-time reports about the disease and avoid eating meat from aborted fetuses.
Kiruhura Farmers Chairperson Emmanuel Kishe says it is a double tragedy for the farmers and wants the government to quickly come to their rescue.