Severe Human Illness Caused by Rift Valley Fever Virus in Mauritania, 2015

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Rift Valley Fever epizootics are characterized by numerous abortions and mortality among young animals. In humans, the illness is usually characterized by a mild self-limited febrile illness, which could progress to more serious complications.Objectives. The aim of the present prospective study was to describe severe clinical signs and symptoms of Rift Valley Fever in southern Mauritania.

Patients and methods.

Suspected cases were enrolled in Kiffa (Assaba) and Aleg (Brakna) Hospital Centers from September 1 to November 7, 2015, based on the presence of fever, hemorrhagic or meningoencephalitic syndromes, and probable contact with sick animals. Suspected cases were confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).


There were thirty-one confirmed cases. The sex ratio M/F and the average age were 2.9 and 25 years old [range, 4-70 years old], respectively. Mosquito bites, direct contact with aborted or dead animals, and frequent ingestion of milk from these animals were risk factors observed in all patients. Hemorrhagic and neurological manifestations were observed in 81% and 13% of cases, respectively. The results of laboratory analysis showed high levels of transaminases, creatinine, and urea associated with thrombocytopenia, anemia, and leukopenia. All patients who died (42%) had a hemorrhagic syndrome and 3 of them had a neurological complication. Among the cured patients, none had neurologic sequelae.


The hemorrhagic form was the most common clinical manifestation of RVF found in southern Mauritania and was responsible for a high mortality rate. Our results justify the implementation of a continuous epidemiological surveillance.

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