Two vaccines for Rift Valley Fever announced

Researchers from the University of California - Davis have reported the development of two genetically engineered vaccines to combat the mosquito-borne Rift Valley Fever.
Scientists from UC Davis, the University of Texas Medical Branch and the University of Connecticut hope that the new vaccines, which are currently for livestock, can be further developed for use in people. The illness typically affects livestock in Africa and the Middle East, but humans can become infected via tainted meat or contact with infected mosquitoes or livestock.
"There currently are no approved vaccines available for treating Rift Valley fever in humans, and those available for livestock are either inefficient or have serious side effects," Tilahun Yilma, the lead author of the study and a veterinary professor specializing in viral diseases and the director of the International Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Tropical Diseases in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said.
The disease can cause hepatitis, vision loss, fever and hemorrhagic fever in humans.
"Because Rift Valley fever is spread by mosquitoes, there is concern that the disease could be accidentally or intentionally introduced to North America and other regions where it is not now found," Yilma said. "Such an introduction could have devastating economic and human health implications."
The vaccines, derived from the vaccinia virus, prevented 90 percent of Rift Valley fever cases in a mouse study with later trials planned for sheep and cattle.
Rift Valley fever was first identified in 1931 among sheep in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Outbreaks of the viral disease have been reported in North and Sub-Saharan Africa since, with cases of the disease reported in the Middle East in 2000.