Global: Rinderpest eradicated (FAO)

| July 4, 2011

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization formally announced last week that rinderpest has been eradicated.

Rinderpest is also known as cattle plague. It is a contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle and buffalo. Epidemics of rinderpest have killed millions of cattle worldwide, resulting in hunger and poverty.

Bernard Vallat is Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health. He said, “Today we witness a historical event as rinderpest is the first animal disease ever to be eradicated by humankind.”

Ann Tutwiler is FAO Deputy Director-General (Knowledge). She said, “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.”

Rinderpest eradication was achieved through global efforts and with strong support from governments, donors and international institutions. The rinderpest virus still exists in laboratories for the production of vaccines, or should the disease reappear.

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For further discussion on the eradication of the disease, see:

-‘FAO declares rinderpest vanquished’

-‘Analysis: Local wisdom key to combating animal diseases’