Feeds

Humanity frees cattle, buffalo from cloven-hoofed plague

Rinderpest, the first animal disease to be eradicated

Seven Steps to Software Security

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."

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.