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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Rift Valley Fever hits Free State

By unknown | Mar 15, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A FREE State man who is feared to be infected with Rift Valley Fever was still on quarantine yesterday, a health official confirmed.

A FREE State man who is feared to be infected with Rift Valley Fever was still on quarantine yesterday, a health official confirmed.

At least 20 people have been infected in the province.

Provincial health spokesperson Jabu Mbalula said the man was admitted to Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein on Thursday after he developed signs of Rift Valley Fever (RVF).

"The 24-year-old man from Edenburg presented himself to hospital," said Mbalula.

He said the man was being kept in isolation while doctors waited for further test results.

If it was confirmed to be RVF, the man would be transferred to the provincial isolation unit at Pelonomi Regional Hospital.

On Friday, the national Health Department said a total of 20 human cases of RVF had been confirmed by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

This was an increase of 13 cases since a week ago.

Deputy Health Minister Molefi Sefularo said the first confirmed case was reported on February 13.

Since then, 19 people had been infected in Free State and one in Northern Cape. One person had died in Free State.

Sefularo said most human cases reported followed direct contact with RVF-infected livestock or could be linked to farms with confirmed animal cases of RVF.

"The human cases are farmers, veterinarians and farmworkers," he said in a statement.

Tests were being carried out on more people suspected of being infected.

The department said people should avoid contact with the tissues of infected animals, refrain from drinking unpasteurised milk and prevent mosquito bites to avoid becoming infected.

Farmers and veterinarians should wear protective clothing when handling sick animals.

There is no specific treatment for RVF in humans, but most would recover completely.

Sefularo said it seemed the sickness was spreading within Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

"Affected farms are primarily clustered within Free State, initially in Bultfontein area.

"However, animal cases of RVF have been confirmed in all districts with spillover into Eastern Cape and Northern Cape," the department said.

About 30 farms in Free State, one in Colesberg and two in Eastern Cape had reported laboratory-confirmed animal cases, with extensive livestock deaths. - Sapa


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