Rift Valley fever – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 by

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute and viral disease that usually occurs among domesticated animals like buffalo, camels, cattle, goats, and sheep. These domesticated animals can also infect and cause illness in humans.

RVF is caused by the RVF virus (RVFV) which is a member of the genus Phlebovirus in the family Bunyaviridae. Typically found in regions of eastern and southern Africa that raise cattle and sheep, RVFV now exists in the majority of sub-Saharan Africa, such as West Africa and Madagascar. Outbreaks of RVF often has major societal impacts, like significant economic losses and trade reductions.

The virus usually affects livestock and it causes disease and abortion in domesticated animals, which are an important income source for various individuals.

RVF outbreaks in animal populations are known as “epizootics.”

Known symptoms, risk factors for Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever usually has an incubation period of two to six days after infection. RVF may also cause side effects often linked to other diseases. In most cases, patients with RVF will either experience no side effects, or they may experience a mild illness linked to fever and liver abnormalities.

Common side effects of the disease at the onset of illness may include:

  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Generalized weakness

Individuals with RVF usually recover after least two days to a week after onset of illness.

Risk factors for Rift Valley fever may include:

  • Sleeping outdoors at night in areas where outbreaks occur, which may increase risk of exposure to mosquitoes and other insect vectors.
  • Spending time in rural areas.
  • Visiting RVF-endemic locations (areas where the virus is present) during periods when sporadic cases or epidemics are occurring.
  • Work with potentially infected animals in RVF-endemic areas (e.g., animal herdsmen, abattoir workers, veterinarians, etc.).

Body systems harmed by Rift Valley fever

At least eight to 10 percent of patients with Rift Valley fever will develop more severe complications like:

  • Encephalitis/inflammation of the brain – This can cause coma, headaches, or seizures. Encephalitis occurs in less than one percent of patients and it may manifest at least one to four weeks after the first side effects appear. While rare, encephalitis may result in death.
  • Hemorrhagic fever – This occurs in less than one percent of all RVF patients. However, fatality for those who develop hemorrhagic fever is at least 50 percent. Side effects of hemorrhaging often start with jaundice along with other signs of liver impairment. This is often followed by vomiting blood, bloody stool, or bleeding from the gums, skin, nose, and injection sites. Side effects manifest after two to four days while death may occur about three to six days after.
  • Ocular disease – Eye lesions can occur about one to three weeks after onset of initial symptom. Some patients report blurred and decreased vision. While lesions may disappear after 10 to 12 weeks, about 50 percent of patients with lesions in the macula will suffer from permanent vision loss.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent Rift Valley fever

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent Rift Valley fever or address its side effects:

  • Fluids – Consume plenty of fluids and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of hot tea, 100 percent fruit juice, or water. You can also consume foods rich in fluids like low-sodium vegetable or poultry broth and thin soups.
  • Fresh fruit – Fruits like cantaloupe, kiwi, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, and watermelon are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Bananas can help replace potassium in patients who have symptoms like diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting.
  • Probiotics – Probiotic foods with beneficial live bacteria can help lower fevers in sick children.
  • Protein – Consuming protein-rich foods can help strengthen the immune system so it can fight off infections. Sources include soft and bland foods like poached and unseasoned skinless chicken/turkey, scrambled eggs, or scrambled silken tofu. Other sources include a high-protein shake, milk added to hot tea or coffee, tofu, or yogurt.

Treatments, management plans for Rift Valley fever

Since the majority of human cases of RVF are mild and self-limiting, there is no specific treatment established for RVF. Rare and severe cases of the disease are often limited to supportive care.

Where to learn more

Summary

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute and viral disease that usually occurs among domesticated animals like buffalo, camels, cattle, goats, and sheep. These domesticated animals can also infect and cause illness in humans.

In most cases, patients with RVF will either experience no side effects, or they may experience a mild illness linked to fever and liver abnormalities.

At least eight to 10 percent of patients with Rift Valley fever will develop more severe complications like encephalitis/inflammation of the brain, hemorrhagic fever, or ocular disease.

Fluids, fresh fruits, probiotics, and protein can help prevent Rift Valley fever or address its side effects.

There is no specific treatment established for RVF. Rare and severe cases of the disease are often limited to supportive care.

Sources include:

CDC.gov 1

CDC.gov 2

CDC.gov 3

CDC.gov 4

Livestrong.com



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