As of 17 September, the Health Ministry of Saudi
Arabia reported 16 deaths in humans, 14 males and 2 females, from Rift Valley fever in the
Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Laboratory confirmation of the disease was made
by the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
Atlanta, Georgia, United States. A total of 38 suspected cases has been reported. No
additional cases have been reported in the past two days.
The Health Ministry is implementing control measures,
including the rapid disposal of dead animals and intensive application of insecticides to
eradicate mosquitoes and larvae. Health education messages about handling sick and dead
animals and ways to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes are also being disseminated to the
population in the affected region.
The Yemen Ministry of Health sent a team to the area
bordering Saudi Arabia to intensify surveillance for human and animal disease. No suspect
cases have been reported in Yemen.
Prior to this report, Rift Valley fever had been believed to be confined
to the African continent.