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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rift Valley Fever (Human) (livestock) in Niger (Update)

18 Oct 2016

On 14 October 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a press releaseLink regarding the rift valley fever (RVF) outbreak currently affecting people and livestock in the Tahoua Region of north-west Niger which borders Mali.

As of 13 October 2016 a total of 112 suspected human cases, including 29 deaths have been reported, the majority of whom are cattle breeders. Most human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of infected animals. Human infections may also result from drinking unpasteurised milk from infected animals and from the bite of an infected mosquito.

In response the WHO has sent a team of experts to Niger in an effort to strengthen the coordination of response and stop further spread of RVF.

Advice for Travellers

There is no commercially available human vaccine against this infection at present.

  • Travellers should be aware of the risk from livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep and avoid contact with ruminant animals, particularly if slaughter, butchering and birthing is taking place.
  • Travellers should avoid mosquito bites (particularly in rural and farming areas) by covering skin with clothing, using insect repellent on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide. 
  • Travellers should always refrain from consuming unpasteurised or uncooked milk and not partake of raw or undercooked meat that has not been properly verified.