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Rift Valley Fever in Kenya

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

What is Rift Valley fever?

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an illness that is primarily spread by direct contact with blood, fluids, or tissues of infected animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels. Less commonly, it can also be spread through mosquito bites.

Most people with RVF do not feel sick or have only mild illness. Symptoms of RVF include fever, weakness, back pain, dizziness, and weight loss. However, a small percentage (8%–10%) of people may have more serious illness, such as severe bleeding, swelling of the brain, or eye disease. Approximately 1% of people who get RVF die from the disease.

Key points

  • There is an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Kenya.
  • Travelers to Kenya should protect themselves from RVF by avoiding contact with infected animals and preventing mosquito bites.

What is the current situation?

Health officials have reported an ongoing outbreak of RVF in Kenya that began in June 2018. The outbreak has been confirmed in the counties of Wajir, Marsabit, and Siaya.

What can travelers do to prevent Rift Valley fever?

Avoid exposure to animals or animal blood

  • Do not handle raw meat.
  • Wear protective equipment if working with animals.

Prevent mosquito bites

Because RVF and other diseases are spread by mosquito bites, all travelers to Kenya should prevent mosquito bites by:

  • Using insect repellent.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors.
  • Sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net.

If you get sick during or after travel

If you feel sick during travel and think you may have RVF:

  • Seek medical care.
  • Use acetaminophen. Do not take pain relievers that contain aspirin or ibuprofen, which may lead to a greater tendency to bleed.

If you get sick after returning to the United States:

  • Seek medical care. Tell your health care provider where and when you traveled.

Information for veterinarians and animal care workers

Although no vaccine for humans is available, several vaccines are licensed in other countries to prevent RVF in animals. Vaccinating livestock prevents the spread of infection to humans by decreasing the rate of disease in animals.

Traveler Information 

Clinician Information