Keeping Close Watch on Rift Valley Fever, a Livestock Disease
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral disease spread to livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, and camels) and humans by mosquitos. Though it has yet to reach the United States, the disease is a major human, agricultural, and economic threat in Africa and the Middle East.
ARS researchers partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Federal partners from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Defense (DOD) to form the Rift Valley Fever Outbreak Early-Warning Team. Their focus is establishing an early-warning system to detect and reduce RVF threats.
The team recently identified environmental signals that predict the occurrence of unusually large mosquito populations. This allows mosquito control professionals additional time, from weeks to months, to deploy surveillance and control measures. Continued monitoring of RVF activity is a critical step in reducing the potential risk of RVF introduction into the United States.