Climate change effects are expressed in most cases as extreme weather conditions that result in prolonged above normal rainfall and droughts both which have come to be associated with livestock disease outbreaks.
Rift Valley fever is a zoonotic disease which is transmitted by female culicine mosquitoes and causes occasional serious outbreaks in humans and animals resulting in deaths. Such outbreaks have also been associated with economic repercussions with the sheep and goat exports being blocked thus cutting into key income streams for livestock keepers in the affected countries.
pic courtesy of needpix.com
Rift Valley fever outbreaks tend to be cyclical – in endemic regions with outbreak being associated with above normal rainfall that favors mosquito vectors multiplication and swarming.
In recent times, with the extreme weather events occurring more frequently due to climate change there is a dramatic increase in incidence of RVF outbreaks that are becoming more predictable and therefore adequate control measures can be planned and implemented effectively.
Prolonged droughts are associated with crowding of livestock in few watering points and in the remaining scarce pastures areas. Such livestock crowding increases livestock contacts and subsequent transmission of many other infectious livestock diseases.
(Pic) image of a region devastated by the effects of climate change.
Partner Countries have improved their control of Rift Valley fever
Strategic planning for the control of RVF can have positive effects on human and animal health, poverty reduction and food security. Partner countries’ Veterinary Services are supported through capacity building, strategic planning workshops, strengthening of laboratory capacities and capacity building necessary for the effective implementation of RVF control measures.
(pic) vaccination against Rift Valley fever in small ruminants