Rift Valley Fever in Niger
Released: October 18, 2016
Travel Health Notice
Rift Valley Fever is caused by a virus which is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease affects mostly animals (such as cattle, sheep, and goats) but can also cause illness in humans. Humans get Rift Valley Fever through contact with infected animal tissues, blood, eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy or from mosquito bites.
Symptoms are usually mild and include:
- sudden onset of fever, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, loss of appetite and vomiting
- in some cases (<1%) the disease can take a severe form and cause death.
There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley Fever.
The World Health Organization received reports of unexplained deaths among humans and animals in the district of Tchintabaraden in late August. This is a community in Niger bordering Mali. The samples collected have turned out positive for Rift Valley Fever.
Typically, it is common around September for farmers and their livestock to gather for celebrations and to move across borders, further increasing the risk of spread.
The Public Health Agency of Canada would like to remind travellers to practise usual precautions as outlined in the recommendations section below. Travellers staying in cities or areas not affected by the Rift Valley Fever are not at risk of infection. Individuals that are most at risk of exposure to Rift Valley Fever are groups working with animals such as farmers, veterinarians and slaughterhouse workers.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Avoid exposure to animals or animal blood:
- practise strict personal protective measures if working with animals in a slaughterhouse, as a butcher, a veterinarian, or a farmer
- avoid handling raw meat
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times, as the Rift Valley Fever virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that can bite in daylight and/or evening hours. This includes the use of insect repellant and protective clothing.
- Practise safe food and water precautions:
- avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products
- avoid raw or undercooked meat. Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot
- Monitor your health:
- if you develop symptoms of Rift Valley Fever when travelling or after you return to Canada, seek medical attention
- tell your health care provider where you have been travelling or living
- Date modified: