Rift Valley fever outbreak reported in Mauritania

The death toll from a recent outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Mauritania in or near the town of Aoujeft has reached 17.

The independent local press put the casualty figures at 17, and it has said that the sick are being taken to hospitals in Nouakchott for treatment, AFP reports.

"Cases of Rift Valley fever have caused loss of human life and at the level of cattle," AMI, the official Mauritanian news agency, reported. AMI did not release any casualty figures, according to AFP.

"The ministers of health and the interior, visiting the region, have given strict instructions to the people of Adrar (where Aoujeft lies) to avoid consuming locally produced meat and milk," AMI reported.

The bans on essential foodstuffs is expected to be left in place until tests and laboratory analyses are completed. They have been underway since last Thursday.

Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-borne illness that mainly affects livestock. It can, however, be transmitted to humans, especially to those working with infected animals.

The death rate for Rift Valley fever is usually below two percent of those infected, according to the World Health Organization. It generally causes mild symptoms, including headaches and muscle pain. There is currently no human vaccine for the disease.