NOAA partners with Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, NASA, Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control to issue notification of emerging risk of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in East Africa due to El Niño-related rains.
RVF is a mosquito-transmitted disease causing livestock and human illness and death. The 2006-2007 outbreaks in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Sudan, and Madagascar are estimated to have caused more than 200,000 human infections with more than 500 deaths, and cost Kenya alone $32 million from livestock losses and international export bans. With sufficient lead times livestock vaccines can be deployed and mosquito control efforts can be implemented.
This notification a pilot effort of an El Niño and Health subgroup, lead by CPO and the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch under the auspices of the OSTP-led Pandemic Prediction Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group (PPFST). The PPFST is an interagency working group that integrates Federal expertise to synthesize risk information and response options for biological threats to US citizens and interests.
The Emerging Health Risk Notification was published on Dec. 20, 2015. Access the notification here.
Learn more about the connection between El Nino and RVF at: Climate.gov