Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz has directed that the concerned bodies take measures to prevent the spread of Rift Valley Fever (RVF). Since livestock has been identified as a primary carrier of this disease, which is spread by the anopheles mosquito, all infected cattle are to be slaughtered and properly destroyed. King Fahd also ordered that the owners be compensated.
After a tour of the Jizan area yesterday, Minister of Agriculture and Water Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Muammar reported the disease is easy to control and will soon be eradicated.
Fourteen new cases of RVF were reported (nine men and five women) for the 24-hour period from 7 pm Saturday to 7 pm Sunday, according to the daily statement issued yesterday by the Ministry of Health. These include two in Riyadh, one in Jeddah, three in Asir Province, and one in Najran; but all of these were people who had come from Jizan. The total number of cases as of yesterday evening was 129, of which 27 resulted in death. A number of patients in Jizan have already been discharged from hospital.
The Ministry's statement called on all mass media to use official sources when reporting on this subject, and to beware of confusing diseases, giving as an example a case of malaria at the National Guard Hospital in Riyadh being reported as RVF, and another case concerning a young girl in Jeddah suffering from a problem related to liver enzymes.
On Friday, Director-General of Health Affairs in Riyadh Province Dr. Badr bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabee'a confirmed that precautions were in effect to prevent the spread of the disease, including examination of all passengers entering Riyadh Province by land or by air, and intensification of the campaign against mosquitoes in the green areas in and around the city. He added that all local hospitals are on 24-hour alert. So far, 2,659 people traveling overland from the southwest had been tested at the checkpoints set up on roads leading to Riyadh, and at King Khalid International Airport 741 passengers arriving from Jizan, Abha, Bisha, Najran and Baha had been checked.
Meanwhile, a symposium on RVF was held yesterday in Riyadh by the Ministry of Health, to discuss the history of the disease and its symptoms, methods of treatment and preventative measures against it. Moreover, on Wednesday, September 27, a lecture on the disease will be presented at the Saudi-German Hospital in Jeddah by Dr. Emad Al-Turki, a consultant in internal medicine.