The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Rift Valley Fever in Kenya and Uganda

Updated August 3, 2018

Released: August 01, 2018

Where is Rift Valley fever a concern?
Outbreaks of Rift Valley fever in humans have been confirmed in both Kenya and Uganda.

The Ministry of Health in Kenya reported over 90 cases and 10 deaths since June 2018. Cases have been reported in Wajir, Marsabit and Siaya counties.

The Uganda Ministry of Health reported 5 cases of Rift Valley fever (2 confirmed and 3 suspected) since June 29, 2018. Confirmed cases were reported in the Isingiro and Kasese districts. Suspected cases were reported in the Ibanda, Mbarara and Kasese districts.

Travellers staying in areas not affected by Rift Valley fever are not at risk of infection.

Individuals who are most at risk of exposure to Rift Valley fever are groups working with animals such as farmers, veterinarians and slaughterhouse workers in areas reporting cases.

What is Rift Valley fever?
Rift Valley fever is an infection that is caused by a virus. The disease affects mostly animals (such as sheep, goats, cattle and camels) but can also cause illness in humans. The disease has been reported only in Africa, most commonly sub-Saharan Africa.

Humans can get Rift Valley fever through:

contact with infected animals
the bite of an infected mosquito
eating or drinking unpasteurized milk and milk products
Symptoms of Rift Valley fever are usually mild and may include:

sudden onset of fever
muscle pain
joint pain
stiff neck
sensitivity to light
loss of appetite
In less than 1% of human cases, the disease can be severe and cause death.

There is no vaccine or medication available for humans to prevent Rift Valley fever.

There is no specific treatment for Rift Valley fever but medical care can help with recovery and the control of symptoms.

How can you protect yourself from Rift Valley fever?
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably 6 weeks before you travel.

Avoid exposure to infected animals:
Avoid contact with animal tissues or blood (e.g. raw meat).
Protect yourself from insect bites at all times. Rift Valley fever virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that can bite during the day and night.
Use insect repellant on exposed skin.
Cover up: wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Accommodations: stay in fully enclosed rooms that have intact window and door screens.
Use bed nets, they can also cover playpens, cribs or strollers.
Eat and drink safely abroad:
Avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products.
Avoid raw or undercooked meat. Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot.
Monitor your health:
If you develop symptoms of Rift Valley fever when travelling or after you return to Canada, seek medical attention.
Tell your health care professional where you have been travelling or living.
Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

Related links
Insect bite prevention
Travel Advice and Advisories
Sickness or injury while travelling
If you get sick after travelling
Other Resources
World Health Organization: Rift Valley fever fact sheet
World Health Organization: Rift Valley fever-Disease outbreak news

Date modified: 2017-04-05