- At least 109 Tanzanians have become victims of the rift valley fever since the outbreak of the disease in January this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed.
The contagious viral disease is spread by aedes mosquito. The mosquito infects animal blood and organs thus transmitting the virus to the milk.
Most of the cases take the form of serious flu symptoms. From the date of the outbreak – 13 January to 3 May – Tanzania has recorded 264 very critical cases of rift valley fever.
The disease was first diagnosed in Kenya. It has been named after a valley that divides the African continent in two from the South to Kenya and Ethiopia.
Domestic livestock – goats, sheep or cattle – usually transfer the epidemic to humans through mosquitoes. Normally, the rift valley fever outbreaks occur during rain seasons.
The outbreak has taken a huge toll on the Tanzanian economy, as most of the communities rely on livestock for survival. The market for meat and milk has also taken a sharp decline.
The East African country’s government is at the brink of earmarking US $12.3 million livestock vaccination programme. It has also imported livestock from South Africa.
Tanzania is not the only country affected by the rift valley fever. Kenya and Somalia have also got their share of the disease’s deaths. With a recorded 684 serious cases, 155 Kenyans succumbed to the disease. Of the 155 documented cases in Somalia, 51 have so far died.
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