For the first time in 70 years, cases of potentially deadly Rift Valley Fever (RVF) have been reported outside traditionally affected areas in North and sub-Saharan Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in late September that laboratory analyses at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed the diagnosis in patients in Saudi Arabia and the bordering nation of Yemen. WHO officials said 160 cases, including 33 deaths, of suspected RVF had been reported in Saudi Arabia and 134 suspected cases, including 31 deaths, were reported in Yemen. The outbreaks raise a threat that RVF could spread to other parts of Asia and Europe because many species of mosquitoes are vectors for the RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus.
Voelker R. RVF Strikes the Middle East. JAMA. 2000;284(18):2309. doi:10.1001/jama.284.18.2309