Printer Friendly

DISEASE OF THE WEEK: RIFT VALLEY FEVER - "BLEEDING DISEASE".

An outbreak of Rift Valley Fever is sweeping across east Africa in the wake of freak floods.

It's a cattle disease that has wiped out herds across eastern Kenya and southern Somalia and has jumped the species barrier to kill hundreds of humans.

Medics fear they may have seen the emergence of a new super-strain of the virus which could take up permanent residence in humans.

Just before Christmas, news began to filter out of thousands of cattle deaths and a mysterious "bleeding disease" among humans.

Aid workers who went out during the floods found people were living huddled with their animals on small patches of dry land.

They had no clean water and little food except for their diseased animals.

Victims of the bleeding disease were struck down overnight.

They became delirious, began bleeding from ears, nose and mouth and died within hours. Last week the Red Cross said the virus had killed more than 450 people and was still raging out of control.

They fear that thousands more may be dead in the dozens of villages still cut off by the floods.

The disease has invaded a rural population without medical help and already severely weakened by malnutrition, TB, malaria and a range of parasitic diseases.

The death rate from the disease appeared to be around 50 per cent in humans and even higher in animals.

The virus spreads among animals via mosquitos. The disease was first identified in 1931 in the Rift Valley in Kenya.

Until now, the largest outbreak in humans was in Egypt during floods in 1977 when 600 people died.

Humans can be infected by mosquito bites and by eating infected meat.

There is an efficient vaccine which protects both animals and humans against the disease.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 11, 1998
Words:292
Previous Article:ME & MY HEALTH: STUART COSGROVE.
Next Article:Family in vigil for Sinatra.


Related Articles
Health Zone: GLOBAL CONDITIONS: It's a sick world; GUIDE TO CONTROVERSIAL PLACE-NAME DISEASES..

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters