The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Rift Valley Fever in Kenya

Updated July 23, 2018

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
CDC Rift Valley Fever website
Rift Valley Fever Infographic
Clinician Information
Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in CDC Health Information for International Travel (“Yellow Book”)
File Formats Help:
How do I view different file formats (PDF, DOC, PPT, MPEG) on this site?
Adobe PDF file
Page created: July 17, 2018
Page last updated: July 17, 2018
Page last reviewed: July 17, 2018
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)