Farmers should vaccinate their livestock against mosquito-borne Rift Valley Fever, the Northern Cape department of agriculture said.
"Rift Valley Fever is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but also has the capacity to infect humans, leading to high rate of diseases and death," said spokesman Phemelo Manankong in a statement.
A zoonosis is an infectious disease that can be passed from animals to humans.
Don’t eat sick animals
While no cases of human to human transmission had been documented, the department warned that those handling infected animals should wear gloves and face masks when handling sick animals or carcasses.
Manankong said people should never eat animals that died from any sickness, or that had been sick before slaughter.
No cure exists for Rift Valley Fever, and so early detection and vaccination of livestock are recommended.
Insect repellent should be applied to animals as well as humans to prevent bites from mosquitoes which could carry the virus.
In humans, symptoms of the virus include fever, sensitivity to light, flu-like symptoms, blurred vision, hallucinations, vertigo and coma.
These symptoms are dependent on the form in which the viral infection manifests.
In animals, death and miscarriage are indications that Rift Valley Fever could be present, and should be reported to a veterinarian.
(Sapa, November 2011)
Rift Valley Fever cases
7 diseases humans get from animals