Feeds

Humanity frees cattle, buffalo from cloven-hoofed plague

Rinderpest, the first animal disease to be eradicated

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) has announced that rinderpest, aka cattle plague, has been wiped out.

Rinderpest is believed to have originated in Asia, and gradually spread through movements of livestock. Over the centuries, the viral infection* provoked major human famines as it devasted cattle. Reuters notes that "after the disease reached Africa in the 19th century, one rinderpest pandemic is estimated to have been responsible for the starvation of one-third of the human population of Ethiopia".

Yacouba Samake, OIE Regional Representative for Africa, told the news agency: "These animals are used for work but also for milk and meat. If the disease hits the herd, all these high-quality proteins, you can forget them; it's a catastrophe."

An outbreak in Belgium in 1920 prompted international efforts to control animal diseases, and was an impetus to the creation of the OIE in 1924. A concerted campaign to eliminate rinderpest – the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme – began in 1980, with major support from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The OIE was able to declare yesterday that "the 198 countries with rinderpest-susceptible animals had been declared free of the disease".

OIE director general Bernard Vallat said: "Today we witness a historical event as rinderpest is the first animal disease ever to be eradicated by humankind."

The FAO's Ann Tutwiler added: "Rinderpest has been one of the top priorities of FAO in its quest to defeat hunger and improve lives through agriculture. With the eradication of the disease in live animals, livestock production around the globe has become safer and the livelihoods of millions of livestock farmers are less at risk. There are important lessons to be learnt when it comes to defeating other animal diseases."

Rinderpest now joins smallpox on the list of officially deceased diseases. The World Health Organization announced the latter was no more in 1980. ®

Bootnote

The OIE explains: "Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague, is a contagious viral disease affecting several species of wild and domestic cloven-hoofed animals (animals with a hoof split into two toes) notably cattle and buffalo. Rinderpest is caused by a virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Morbillivirus. Many species of wild and domestic cloven-hoofed animals including sheep and goats, can show milder clinical signs of the disease when infected, but the mortality rate can reach up to 100 per cent in highly susceptible cattle or buffalo herds."

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.