Visitors coming to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup are not at risk unless they handle infected carcasses on farms or handle raw meat from infected animals. It is highly unlikely that visitors would be involved in these activities. The formal meat supply is well controlled
and affected animals are excluded from the food chain in abattoirs.
There is no risk to visitors to Game Parks as the disease typically only affects ruminants such as sheep, cattle and goats. South Africa is
looking forward to extending a warm welcome to the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and to reassure visitors that everything will be done
to ensure their safety and health.,* said Dr Lucille Blumberg from NICD.
This follows an earlier media alert by the Department of Health to reassure the public that the Department of Health and Department of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, supported by the South African Field Epidemiology and Training Programme (SA-FELTP) and National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), observed by a technical expert from the World Health Organisation Geneva, are working round-the-clock to contain the spread of the Rift Valley Fever (RVF).
*We are confident that the outbreak holds no risk for 2010 Fifa World Cup,* the Department of Health*s head of communicable disease
control Dr Frew Benson, reiterates.
Currently there are 140 laboratory confirmed human cases of Rift Valley fever in South Africa and there have been 9 deaths to date, according to
the latest update by the National Institute of Communicable Disease Laboratory.
The majority of cases have had mild flu-like symptoms and have not developed complications. There is no vaccine for humans or specific
treatment. The risk of disease is to persons having direct contact with blood or tissues of infected animals and the majority of people affected have been persons working on farms, veterinary workers and slaughter men.
There is no human to human spread. Mosquitoes are important in transmission of the virus from animal to animal but not in transmission to humans in the South African outbreak as the mosquitoes involved
prefer feeding on animals and don’t generally feed indoors. The disease is generally seen on farms, and not in the cities other than related to the occasional informal slaughter of infected animals.
The eating of well- cooked meat poses no risk, nor does the drinking of pasteurized milk.
It is likely that the number of animal cases and therefore human will decrease as the weather gets cooler. There is also an animal vaccination
programme on farms not yet affected to protect livestock.
Media enquiries; Charity Bhengu, Media Liaison 0836797424
ISSUED BY NATIONAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH ON TUESDAY 20 APRIL 2010.