Rift Valley Fever : A Comprehensive Guide To The Disease

Rift Valley Fever : A Comprehensive Guide To The Disease

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a virus that mostly infects cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, however, it can potentially infect people. The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a member of the Phlebovirus genus and family...

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a virus that mostly infects cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, however, it can potentially infect people. The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a member of the Phlebovirus genus and family Phenuiviridae, is the culprit behind the illness.

Although RVF is indigenous to Africa, outbreaks have happened elsewhere throughout the world. Primarily mosquitoes of the Aedes and Culex genera, especially those that bite people, are infected and carry the virus.

Animal vaccination, mosquito control, and public health education are among the RVF prevention and control techniques that may be used to decrease human exposure to infected animals or their products. RVF is a zoonotic illness, which means it may spread from animals to people. This emphasizes the significance of a One Health strategy for disease prevention and management.

Understanding the Causes of Rift Valley Fever

The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a member of the Phlebovirus genus in the family Phenuiviridae, is what causes rift valley fever (RVF).

RVFV has a lipid membrane around its nucleocapsid since it is an enveloped virus.

The RVFV nucleocapsid houses the viral RNA genome along with related nucleoproteins and other viral proteins.

RVFV has glycoprotein spikes in its lipid envelope that are crucial for viral entrance and immunological detection.

The diameter of RVFV is between 80 and 100 nanometers.

RVFV is a negative-sense RNA virus, which means that the viral mRNA that is produced during replication is complementary to the RNA genome of the virus.

RVFV is a negative-sense RNA virus, which means that the viral mRNA that is produced during replication is complementary to the RNA genome of the virus.

Three segments, L (big), M (middle), and S (small), make up the RVFV genome.

Two glycoproteins, Gn and Gc, which are necessary for viral entrance into host cells, are encoded by the RVFV M segment.

The nucleocapsid protein and NSs, a non-structural protein that controls the host immunological response, are both encoded by the RVFV S segment.

The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which is in charge of replicating the viral genome and transcribing viral mRNA during replication, is encoded by the L segment of RVFV.

From Mosquito to Mammal: The Life Cycle of RVFV


The virus's glycoprotein spikes help it cling to the surface of the host cell.

Viral entry

Receptor-mediated endocytosis allows the virus to enter the host cell. The virus releases its nucleocapsid into the cytoplasm after merging with the endosomal membrane once it has entered the endosome.


The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase starts replicating the viral RNA genome, generating both positive- and negative-sense RNA strands for genome replication and viral protein translation, respectively.


Viral proteins such as viral glycoproteins, nucleocapsid protein, and non-structural protein NSs are produced from the positive-sense RNA strands.


At the host cell membrane, the viral DNA and related proteins are put together to form new virions.


Budding, which entails the virus obtaining its lipid envelope as it buds out of the host cell membrane, is how fresh virions are liberated from the host cell.


Through mosquito bites, contact with diseased animal tissues or fluids, or other host cell infections, the newly released virions can spread to humans or other animals.

Additionally, RVFV can create long-lasting infections in mosquitoes, enabling the virus to survive the winter and continue to circulate in endemic areas.

From Mosquitoes to Humans: How RVFV Spreads

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is mostly spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes, especially those belonging to the Aedes and Culex genera.

Additionally, direct contact with infected animal tissues or fluids, such as blood, placenta, or aborted fetuses, can result in the transmission of RVFV.

Contaminated animal tissues or fluids, mosquito bites, or aerosolized exposure to contaminated animal fluids can all spread RVF to people.

Although there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of RVF, there is a theoretical possibility that it may spread through intercourse, organ transplantation, or blood transfusion.

Numerous animal species, including cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and wild animals like buffalo and antelope, are susceptible to RVFV infection.

Through mosquito bites or contact with infected animal tissues or fluids, infected animals can spread RVFV to other animals or people.

Additionally, the movement of infected animals or animal products, such as the shipping of cattle or meat from endemic to non-endemic areas, can transmit the RVFV virus.

The danger of spreading RVFV is greatest in places with a high concentration of vulnerable animal hosts, skilled mosquito vectors, and conducive environmental factors for mosquito reproduction and survival.

RVFV : Recognizing the Symptoms of a Deadly Virus

The main indications and symptoms of Rift Valley fever (RVF) are as follows:

Most of the time, RVF infection is asymptomatic or only manifests as mild flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, headache, fever, and muscular pains.

In certain situations, serious illnesses including

encephalitis, hemorrhagic fever, or ophthalmic conditions can be brought on by RVF.

In addition to bleeding from the mouth, nose, or eyes, hemorrhagic fever is also characterized by Serum IgM bruises, jaundice, and stomach discomfort. Hemorrhagic fever can be deadly in extreme instances, causing shock, coma, and even death.

Seizures, disorientation, and coma are just a few of the symptoms that can result from encephalitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the brain.

Retinal inflammation brought on by ocular illness can cause vision loss or even blindness.

As a severe condition, RVF can also result in animal deaths, stillbirths, and abortions.

Incubation times for RVF in humans can range from 2 to 14 days, although they are commonly 2 to 6 days.

Long-term effects from RVF might occasionally include hearing loss, retinal abnormalities, and persistent headaches.

As a result, laboratory testing is required to confirm the diagnosis because many of the symptoms of RVF are non-specific and can also be brought on by other disorders.

Piecing Together the Puzzle: RVFV Diagnosis and Testing

Due to the symptoms of Rift Valley fever (RVF) being similar to those of many other illnesses, a correct diagnosis might be difficult to make. The main RVF diagnostic techniques are listed below:

Laboratory testing

The most accurate technique to diagnose RVF is through laboratory tests. These examinations can find the RVF virus in tissues, blood, or other bodily fluids, as well as the body's immunological response to the infection.


Serology tests can find antibodies to the RVF virus in the blood test , a sign that a person has been exposed to the virus. These examinations may help identify previous illnesses or for tracking the body's immunological response to immunization.

Polymerase chain reaction

PCR assays can identify the genetic makeup of the RVF virus in blood or tissue samples, making them a quicker and more accurate diagnostic method than serology. Additionally, PCR can discriminate between several viral strains.

Clinical assessment

A clinical assessment can assist in identifying RVF's signature symptoms, including fever, headache, muscular pains, and hemorrhagic fever. To rule out any potential causes of the disease, a comprehensive history and physical examination are also helpful.

Imaging tests

To assess the neurological or visual effects of RVF, imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs may be employed.

It is significant to highlight that not all locations have access to widespread laboratory testing for RVF, and samples may need to be submitted to specialized labs for testing.

RVFV Treatment: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is currently untreatable, and supportive care is the cornerstone of treatment. Here are some strategies for managing RVF:

Treatment that targets symptoms

The major goal of treatment is to reduce discomfort, fever, and dehydration. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are Serum IgG two pain relievers that can help lower temperature and discomfort. To make up for fluids lost owing to a fever or dehydration, fluids may be administered.


For a more intense treatment, severe instances of RVF may necessitate hospitalization. Instances of encephalitis or hemorrhagic fever frequently call for hospitalization.


Complications management or prevention may also be part of the treatment plan for conditions including bleeding disorders or neurological issues.

Antiviral drugs

There aren't any antiviral drugs specifically effective against RVF at the moment. New RVF therapies are, however, still being developed via study.

RVF vaccine

Although there is a vaccination for use in animals, there is not yet a vaccine authorized for use in people. Human vaccination is presently being developed by scientists.

It's crucial to remember that RVF may be a serious and even fatal condition, therefore anyone who exhibits symptoms should consult a doctor right away. Early detection and supportive treatment can enhance results and reduce problems.

Join the Fight Against RVFV : Together We Can Overcome.