, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 471-480
Date: 22 Oct 2010

Risk assessment of the introduction of Rift Valley fever from the Horn of Africa to Yemen via legal trade of small ruminants

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Abstract

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis of increasing global importance. Occurring since 1930 across Africa, it was detected for the first time in Saudi Arabia and Yemen in September 2000, leading to human deaths and major losses in livestock populations. Assuming the virus has not survived in Yemen or has been circulating at a low level, authors qualitatively assessed the likelihood of “re-introduction” of RVF into Yemen through the legal importation of small ruminants from the Horn of Africa. The overall probability of introduction was assessed very low to medium, increasing during festival periods and higher when considering a direct transmission exposure as compared to a vectorial transmission exposure. The uncertainty was considered to be medium underlining important gaps in information that need to be fulfilled in the region. Options to reduce the risk are proposed and discussed, including possible improvements of the current Yemeni quarantine system.