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Can environmental and socioeconomic factors explain the recent emergence of Rift Valley fever in Yemen, 2000-2001?

Abdo-Salem S., Tran A., Grosbois V., Gerbier G., Al-Qadasi M., Saeed K., Etter E., Thiry E., Roger F., Chevalier V.. 2011. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11 (1) : p. 1-7.

DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2010.0084

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a major vector-borne zoonosis first identified on the African continent in the early 1900s. In 2000, RVF was reported for the first time in Yemen. In this study, we provide a descriptive analysis of the period 1999-2007 in Yemen, taking into account the environmental and socioeconomic factors likely to have been involved in the emergence of RVF in the country. We characterize each year in the study period by the environmental conditions (linked to vegetation indexes), the festival calendar, and economic data. We then use a principal component analysis to synthesize the different variables, assess whether the year 2000 was atypical compared with other years in the study period, and, if that was the case, in what respect. Our results show that 2000 presented above-normal vegetation index values, which reflect important precipitation, for both the two rainy seasons (the first between March and May; the second between July and October). These environmental conditions, ones favorable to mosquito vector populations, coincided that year with a late (March) starting date of the Eid al-Kabeer festival, which corresponds to a period with high host (cattle, sheep, goats) densities. According to these criteria, 2000 was an atypical year. These conclusions suggest that it is important to consider social variables in addition to environmental ones when assessing the risk of RVF emergence.

Mots-clés : virus de la fièvre de la vallée du rift; bétail; végétation; fièvre de la vallée du rift; yémen; Émergence

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