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Background Information
Rift Valley fever (RVF), at least in Kenya, has been well known for over 60 years. As early as 1913, a disease fitting the description of RVF was blamed for the loss of sheep in the Rift Valley in Kenya. However, it was not until scientists studied an outbreak of the disease in 1931 that a virus was isolated and shown to cause the disease. Since that time, major outbreaks of Rift Valley fever have been noted throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with occasional outbreaks noted in other parts of the continent. For example, in Egypt, several million people were infected and thousands died from RVF during a violent epidemic of this disease in 1977-78.

Dates of Reported Epizootic Outbreaks in Africa

Image that shows the continent of Africa and the dates of reported epizootic outbreaks.  This image links to a more detailed image.
Data are from Bres (1981).
Reproduced with permission of S. Karger AG, Basel.

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