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Combating and predicting Rift Valley fever outbreaks : a scientific and geopolitical challenge for the future

Chevalier V., Martin V., De La Rocque S., Roger F.. 2008. In : Scheld W. Mickael (ed.), Hammer Scott M. (ed.), Hughes James M. (ed.). Emerging infections 8. Washington : ASM Press, p. 189-212.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a hyperacute or acute disease of domestic ruminants caused by a virus belonging to the Phlebovirus genus (Bunyaviridae family) and characterized by necrotic hepatitis and a hemorrhagic stale. The disease is more severe in sheep, cattle, and goats, producing high mortality rates in newborn animals and abortion in pregnant animals. It is a zoonotic disease, and humans become infected through contact with tissues of infected animals or by mosquito bites. Infection in humans is usually associated with mild to moderately severe influenzalike illness, but severe complications, such as ocular sequelae, encephalitis, or hemorrhagic disease, occur in a small proportion of patients and with a significant fatality rate. The first part of this chapter is devoted to an updated presentation of the clinical features and the epidemiology of the disease. RVF is a rather complex disease that may emerge and be maintained in different types of ecosystems. In the second part of the chapter, persistence of the virus in affected areas and scenarios for disease emergence are described. Increasing environmental changes induced by human activities, including climatic changes, have been proved to facilitate the spread of some arthropod-borne diseases. Furthermore, unprecedented increases in the international trade and worldwide movements of humans, animals, and animal products may favor the introduction of the pathogen and/or its vector in new remote regions. The third part of the chapter reviews the potential further dissemination of the virus and possible changes in outbreak occurrence in the future. Lastly, we provide proposais to improve our knowledge of the ecology of the disease and to strengthen the prediction and early warning tools that can be used to adapt existing surveillance and control measures in new global economic, ecological, and climatic contexts.

Mots-clés : virus de la fièvre de la vallée du rift; surveillance épidémiologique; bunyaviridae; fièvre de la vallée du rift

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