A systematic review of Rift Valley fever epidemiology 1931-2014

Mark Nanyingi, Peninah Munyua, Stephen G. Kiama, Gerald M. Muchemi, Samuel Mwangi, Austine O Bitek, Bernard Bett, Rees Muriithi, Kariuki Njenga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis that was first isolated and characterized in 1931 in Kenya. RVF outbreaks have resulted in significant losses through human illness and deaths, high livestock abortions and deaths. This report provides an overview on epidemiology of RVF including ecology, molecular diversity spatiotemporal analysis, and predictive risk modeling.

Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we systematically searched for relevant RVF publications in repositories of the World Health Organization Library and Information Networks for Knowledge (WHOLIS), U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Detailed searches were performed in Google Scholar, SpringerLink, and PubMed databases and included conference proceedings and books published from 1931 up to 31st January 2015.

Results and discussion
A total of 84 studies were included in this review; majority (50%) reported on common human and animal risk factors that included consumption of animal products, contact with infected animals and residing in low altitude areas associated with favorable climatic and ecological conditions for vector emergence. A total of 14 (16%) of the publications described RVF progressive spatial and temporal distribution and the use of risk modeling for timely prediction of imminent outbreaks. Using distribution maps, we illustrated the gradual spread and geographical extent of disease; we also estimated the disease burden using aggregate human mortalities and cumulative outbreak periods for endemic regions.

This review outlines common risk factors for RVF infections over wider geographical areas; it also emphasizes the role of spatial models in predicting RVF enzootics. It, therefore, explains RVF epidemiological status that may be used for design of targeted surveillance and control programs in endemic countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection Ecology and Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015


  • rift valley fever
  • spatiotemporal
  • modeling
  • epidemiology


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