On 16 Oct 2013, a news release titled Outbreak of rift valley fever disease reported in RSS reported that there is an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in South Sudan. This is inaccurate. There is no outbreak of Rift Valley fever in South Sudan that we know of.
Those quoted in the news release were participants of a workshop being held in Juba 15–16 Oct 2013, entitled ‘Developing a risk map and decision-support tools for managing Rift Valley fever in South Sudan’. The workshop was organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the South Sudan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources, Fisheries, Cooperative and Rural Development. ILRI veterinary epidemiologist Bernard Bett, BVM, MVEE, PhD, of ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonosis Program, took part in that workshop. He reports that all conversations of the participants dealt with historical, not contemporary, information.
In the news release, Bett is misquoted and misnamed. He is a veterinary epidemiologist whose research focus is Rift Valley fever and other arboviruses. He is one of those working on developing the risk map for Rift Valley fever.
The misinformation was further circulated online in several places. ILRI has asked the relevant agencies to issue a statement correcting this misinformation.
For further information, please contact Bernard Bett: b.bett AT CGIAR.org
For more on the Rift Valley fever risk map, see this slide presentation by Bernard Bett and colleagues.