Mauritania 2011

CERF allocates $680,000 in response to Rift Valley Fever epidemic in Mauritania

14 February 2011: In response to the spreading Rift Valley Fever (RVF) epidemic affecting over 58,000 people in the country, CERF has allocated some $680,000 for humanitarian response in Mauritania.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will use some $400,000 to strengthen epidemiological surveillance, case detection and management, and to inform and educate the population about the disease. Some $280,000 will go to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for veterinary equipment, training of veterinary staff, risk assessments, epidemic control, and dissemination of RVF information.

Since the beginning of November 2010, 68 cases of RVF have been confirmed in humans, leading to 13 deaths. The Ministry of Rural Development has identified 41 mortal cases among cattle. Based on previous data on outbreaks of RVF in the Horn of Africa and Madagascar, the actual number of unreported RVF cases could be over 100 times the above numbers. RVF is a major zoonosis that in most cases spreads when people become infected through close contact with virulent material, such as blood of slaughtered animals or aborted fetuses from infected females.

On 12 December 2010, the Mauritania Ministry of Health officially acknowledged the epidemic that is causing both loss of life and severe economic setbacks due to loss of livestock. Consumption of red meat and milk has drastically reduced and commodity prices for livestock have collapsed. As a result, household food security, nutrition, access to health care, and education of children are precarious for pastoralists and livestock dealers.

The epidemic must be controlled quickly for economic and health reasons, as well as to reduce the threat of exporting the disease through trade to other regions, such as North Africa where eco-climatic conditions are ideal for it to spread.

CERF in Action - Rapid Response