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Rift Valley Fever: A Deadly Zoonotic Disease of Ruminants and Humans
Panelist: A. Sally Davis, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Kansas State University
Moderator: Chhavi Chauhan, PhD, ASIP

Description: Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV), is a mosquito-borne, zoonotic pathogen in genus Phlebovirus, family Phenuiviridae, order Bunyavirales that typically causes outbreaks in Africa and spread to the Arabian Peninsula in 2000. It has a high colonization capacity, is a potential emergent risk in Europe, Asia and the Americas due to the presence of competent vectors and is a bioterrorism/agroterrorism concern as it could be weaponized. Consequently, it is classified as a category A pathogen by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in recognition of its potential for social disruption requiring significant public health preparedness and is the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s third most dangerous animal threat after avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease. In the U.S. RVFV is a Select Agent. All work with virulent RVFV must be conducted minimally at biosafety level 3 enhanced.

The virus replicates in both Aedes spp. and Culex spp. mosquitoes including species native to non-endemic areas. In ruminants, particularly sheep, RVFV infections cause mass abortion and high mortality rates in neonates. Older animals can succumb to liver and kidney failure as well as hemorrhagic fever. Other ruminants, including cattle, goats, a diversity of African wild hoofstock, white-tailed deer, camels and alpacas are also susceptible to RVF. In humans, RVF ranges from flu-like symptoms to hemorrhagic fever, liver and/or kidney failure and can also include encephalitis and retinitis. Increased abortion risk has also been correlated with the presence of RVFV in humans.

Dec 16, 2021 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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A. Sally Davis, DVM, PhD, DACVP
Assistant Professor of Experimental Pathology @Kansas State University
Dr. A. Sally Davis, DVM, PhD, DACVP runs the Laboratory of Investigative Pathology in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology at Kansas State University (K-State). Her research includes the development of tissue-based biomarkers, diagnostic tests and countermeasures against emerging and zoonotic viral pathogens as well as visualization of host-pathogen interactions using a variety of microscopy and analysis techniques. Specific areas of concentration include biospecimen quality, viral pathogenesis, pathogen inactivation and high containment research including work with small and large animals as well as Select Agents. Dr. Davis completed a bachelor's degree in computer science modified with education as well as a graduate certification in middle school sciences education from the Dartmouth College in 1992 then spent over a decade in computer and business consulting industry including in international management positions. She completed a DVM in 2007.
Chhavi Chauhan, PhD
Director of Scientific Outreach and Director of JMD Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program @American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)