Rift Valley Fever :: Update on Rift Valley Fever in Kenya and Somalia

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an outbreak of Rift Valley fever has occurred in several areas of Kenya, primarily the North Eastern Province, Coast Province, Eastern Province, Central Province, and Rift Valley Province.

Although the outbreak seems to be declining, the Ministry of Health is continuing its efforts to contain the outbreak and conduct active surveillance. Investigation and response efforts were assisted by several international organizations and agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The WHO reports that Somalia is also experiencing an outbreak of Rift Valley fever. Efforts are under way in surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, and controlling the spread of the outbreak.

Recommendations for U.S. Travelers

Generally, the risk of Rift Valley fever infection is low for travelers, unless they are in areas where an outbreak is occurring and are bitten by infected insects or come in contact with body fluids and aerosols from infected animals (primarily livestock).

No preventive medications or licensed vaccines are available for Rift Valley fever, but travelers to affected areas can take the following steps to reduce their risk of infection:

Use insect repellent on exposed skin surfaces when outdoors, particularly during the day.

Repellents containing 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are recommended. Lower concentrations of DEET offer shorter-term protection and require more frequent reapplication.

Repellents containing picaridin are available in the U.S. in formulations of up to 15% concentration, which require frequent reapplication. Repellents with higher concentrations of picaridin may be available in some regions outside the U.S.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

Clothing may also be sprayed with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent for greater protection.

Where possible, stay in hotels or resorts that are well screened or air-conditioned and take measures to reduce and exclude mosquitoes. Use of bed nets is recommended if mosquito-proof accommodations are not available.

If illness develops, stay under a mosquito net or indoors to limit mosquito bites and to avoid further spread of infection.

Travelers should avoid contact with livestock in areas where outbreaks are occurring.

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