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RIFT Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne virus, member of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae), which affects mainly ruminant species. It may cause severe economic losses through abortions and high mortality among newborns, and through the heavy control costs and the trade restrictions imposed. Rift Valley fever (RVF) is also a zoonotic disease with potentially severe consequences for infected people, including haemorrhagic fever, meningoencephalitis, renal failure, blindness and, in some cases, death. RVFV is transmitted through the bites of various species of mosquitoes (typically the Aedes or Culex genera) and also through infected tissues such as aborted fetuses, meat and blood (EFSA 2013).
RVF is considered to be endemic in sub-Saharan African countries, with sporadic major outbreaks associated with periods of heavy rainfall and flooding. In the last few years, Mauritania and Senegal have been repeatedly affected by RVF (OIE-WAHID 2015). RVFV was thought to be restricted to Africa; however, in 2000, the virus emerged in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Currently, the risk of expansion of RVFV to North African countries is considered high, and in the event of RVFV introduction into Morocco, the risk to Spain would significantly increase (CCAES 2014). The aim of the present study was to detect RVFV circulation in Andalusia (southern Spain), the highest risk area in Spain (Sánchez-Vizcaíno and others 2013), or alternatively provide …
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