Rift Valley Fever (RVF), an infectious viral disease, poses a significant threat to livestock and human health in Africa and the Middle East. Although the disease has not reached the United States, a recent study by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Kansas State University (KSU) shows that U.S. white-tailed deer are highly susceptible to the RVF virus (RVFV).
The disease causes significant economic losses due to death and abortion among infected livestock. Cattle, sheep, goats and camels are particularly susceptible to the virus. It can also infect humans through contact with organs, blood or milk of infected animals or from the bites of infected mosquitoes and blood-feeding flies.
In the past 15 years alone, RVFV has caused tens of thousands of human cases, hundreds of human deaths and more than 100,000 domestic animal deaths in affected countries, according to an ARS report published in the Annual Review of Entomology.