Rift Valley fever: how to spot and report the disease
How to spot Rift Valley fever, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent it.
Rift Valley fever affects:
- sheep and lambs
There has never been a known case of Rift Valley fever in Great Britain.
Rift Valley fever is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.
How to spot Rift Valley fever
The main clinical signs in lambs may include:
- loss of appetite
- sudden death
- stomach pain
Most affected young lambs will die.
Lambs less than a week old may die within 24 hours without showing any clinical signs.
In adult sheep or goats
The main clinical signs in adult sheep or goats may include:
The main clinical signs in calves may include:
- loss of appetite
The main clinical signs in cattle may include:
- excessive saliva
- loss of milk
Risk to humans
Rift Valley fever is usually found in Africa.
Infected humans suffer from moderate to severe flu-like symptoms.
A minority of infected humans have problems with vision.
It is not normally fatal.
How Rift Valley fever is spread
Rift Valley fever is spread by mosquitoes.
Preventing and controlling Rift Valley fever
You can help to prevent Rift Valley fever by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.
If you report suspicion of Rift Valley fever, APHA vets will investigate.
If Rift Valley is confirmed, the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.
Further information on prevention and control
Legislation relating to Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.
Rift Valley fever is also covered by EU Council Directive 92/119.
Published: 26 August 2014
Updated: 1 October 2014
- AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
- First published.