It goes without saying that Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a serious disease. All livestock owners must vaccinate their animals as the virus does not necessarily discriminate as to which species are affected. While sheep are the main targets, goats, cattle, and even buffalo can also contract the disease. Worst of all, RVF is a zoonotic disease, meaning people can become infected mainly by handling sick or dead animals.
A few years ago, a young state veterinarian from the Eastern Cape died due to the disease. It is an extremely serious and consequently a notifiable disease. The most recent case was reported in May 2018 in Jacobsdal in the Free State.
For the past few months, we have received good news from Colombia University’s El Niño, La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecast, where they predict a strong La Niña phenomenon for South Africa’s rainy season and a neutral sea temperature during the coming winter. We have already experienced the joys of good rain almost countrywide, with the Free State being particularly wet and lush.