This project aims to develop a viral challenge model for the disease Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in Dutch sheep. This model will be used for testing the efficacy and safety of existing - and in this project to develop new - vaccines for RVF.
In addition, the animal samples derived from these tests are used for the development of appropriate diagnostic tests for the Dutch situation. The researchers investigate also if the RVF-virus can be transmitted between sheep. From previous experiments, there are indications that a horizontal virustransfer between mice is possible.
The RVF-virus can cause serious infections in humans and ruminants, with major (economic) damage. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and is mainly distributed in the countries south of the Sahara. As a cause of an extensive epidemic of RVF, which afflicts since December 2006 Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania, many farm animals and hundreds of people has deceased.
This epidemic has now expanded to Sudan and Madagascar. The WHO, OIE and EU consider RVF as one of the most important emerging zoonotic infections to date. Recently, the European Food and Safety Authority concluded that an infection of farm animals by infected mosquitoes in EU-countries is considered as "reasonably likely".