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On 16 September 2016, the World Health Organization confirmed a Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak in Niger. Epidemiological surveillance was reinforced among the French Armed Forces deployed in Niger and bordering countries: Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso. On 26 October, a probable case of RVF was reported in a service member sampled in Mali 3 weeks earlier. At the time the result was reported, the patient was on vacation on Martinique. An epidemiological investigation was conducted to confirm this case and identify other cases. Finally, the case was not confirmed, but three suspected cases of RVF were confirmed using serological and molecular testing. RVF viral RNA was detectable in whole blood for 57 and 67 days after onset of symptoms for two cases, although it was absent from plasma and serum. At the time of diagnosis, these cases had already returned from Mali to Europe. The infectivity of other arboviruses in whole blood has already been highlighted. That RVF virus has been detected in whole blood that long after the onset of symptoms (67 days) raises the question of its potential prolonged infectivity. Because of exposure to tropical infectious diseases during deployment, military populations could import emerging pathogens to Europe.


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