Publication - Advice and guidance

Rift Valley fever: how to spot and report the disease

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of this infectious disease.

Published:
31 Oct 2018
Rift Valley fever: how to spot and report the disease

Rift Valley fever affects sheep and lambs, goats and cattle. It also affects humans.

Latest situation: there has never been a known case of Rift Valley fever in Great Britain.

Clinical signs

In lambs

The main clinical signs in lambs may include:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • sudden death
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea

Most affected young lambs will die.

Lambs less than a week old may die within 24 hours without showing any clinical signs.

In adult sheep or goats

The main clinical signs in adult sheep or goats may include:

  • abortion
  • fever

In calves

The main clinical signs in calves may include:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • depression

In cattle

The main clinical signs in cattle may include:

  • fever
  • excessive saliva
  • abortion
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of milk
If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence. 

How Rift Valley fever is spread

Rift Valley fever is spread by mosquitoes.

Human health implications

Rift Valley fever is usually found in Africa. Infected humans suffer from moderate to severe flu-like symptoms. A minority of infected humans have problems with vision. It is not normally fatal.

How to control the disease

An outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases.

Legislation

Rift Valley fever is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.

Rift Valley fever is also covered by EU Council Directive 92/119.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimise the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of Rift Valley fever to and from your animals.

Contact

If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence.