NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL NEWS - Farmers are advised to vaccinate their animals against Rift Valley fever.
This follows confirmation that Rift Valley fever has been found at one farm in the Jacobsdal area in the Free State. So far, it is the only farm reported to be affected and further investigations are being carried out by the local veterinary services.
All livestock farmers in South Africa are advised to vaccinate all their cattle, sheep and goats annually or at least once during weaning.
Rift Valley fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes.
It affects cattle, sheep and goats and causes abortions and deaths, especially in young animals. Humans can become infected with Rift Valley fever if they come into contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected animal or an aborted foetus.
Care should be taken when handling animals that may be infected or the carcasses of animals that have died of the disease.
Symptoms in humans resemble influenza but some individuals may develop more serious complications. If a person suspects that they might have been infected with Rift Valley fever they should see a doctor without delay.
Live vaccines can only be used in non-pregnant animals as the live vaccine can cause abortions.
Only inactivated vaccines are suitable for use in pregnant animals. Please take care when vaccines are administered after outbreaks have been detected; use a clean needle for each animal as the virus can be spread from one animal to another if the animals have contracted the infection but are still in the incubation period.
Animals in the incubation period have contracted the virus but are not yet showing symptoms of the disease.
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