RINDERPEST - WORLDWIDE: GLOBAL RESEARCH MORATORIUM,
+ ProMED-mail post
Call for countries to comply with moratorium on research using live
rinderpest virus. Did we really eradicated Rinderpest?
هل قضينا على مرض الطاعون البقري مثلما قضي على مرض الجدري في البشر؟
|In the early years of the last century millions of
cattle died from Rinderpest
في اوائل القرن الماضي فتك المرض بملايين الابقار في دول كثيره
Rinderpest,(الطاعون البقري) or cattle plague, is a contagious and highly-fatal disease of cattle, buffaloes, yaks and many other artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates), both domesticated and wild. Vulnerable animals include swine, giraffes and kudus.
Rinderpest is caused by a morbillivirus related to human measles, canine distemper and peste des petits ruminants. Affected animals have a high fever, depression, nasal/ocular discharges, erosions in the mouth and the digestive tract, along with diarrhea. The animals rapidly become dehydrated and emaciated, dying one week or so after showing signs of the disease. Rinderpest is not known to infect humans, but its impact on cattle and other animals has had a tremendous impact on human livelihoods and food security, due to its ability to wipe out entire herds of cattle in a matter of days.
|lunch break for vaccination team from Suliemaniah 1971.
Pictured with me are the team including Dr. Ali .Hameed
اثناء الاستراحه من حملة تطعيمات الطاعون البقري في السليمانيه عام 1971
معي في الصوره الدكتور علي حميد وفريق مستشفى البيطري
Rinderpest is an ancient disease whose signs were recognized long before it bore its current name. The virus could well have been the origin of human measles when people first started to domesticate cattle, more than 10,000 years ago. Historical accounts suggest that rinderpest originated in the steppes of Central Eurasia, later sweeping across Europe and Asia with military campaigns and livestock imports. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the disease devastated parts of Africa. Rinderpest also appeared briefly in the Americas and Australia with imported animals, but was quickly eliminated.
Rinderpest epidemics and resulting losses preceded the fall of the Roman empire, the conquest of Christian Europe by Charlemagne, the French Revolution and the impoverishment of Russia. When rinderpest was introduced into sub-Saharan Africa, at the end of the 19th century, it triggered extensive famines and opened the way for the colonization of Africa. In the 1940s in China, it became clear that significant agricultural development was not possible while rinderpest went unchecked. Subsequent control of the disease worldwide contributed to the Green Revolution in agricultural production.
FAO and (OIE) are calling on countries to comply with a global moratorium on research that involves working with live rinderpest virus in laboratories and are working together to bring about the destruction of potentially dangerous virus samples and biological materials that are currently stored in more than 40 laboratories across the world, some under insufficient levels of biosecurity. Some reserves of rinderpest virus should be kept to produce vaccines and for research in case the disease emerges again or is released as a result of an accidental or deliberate act.
Rinderpest was officially declared eradicated by OIE and FAO a year ago [May 2011], meaning that the virus that causes this destructive livestock disease no longer circulates in animals and continues to exist only in laboratories. Rinderpest does not affect humans.
Two international resolutions were passed in 2011 and countries agreed to destroy remaining stocks of rinderpest virus or to safely store them in a limited number of approved high containment laboratories.The moratorium will remain in place and all future research proposals should be submitted for approval, in keeping with the 2011 resolutions. It has been advised that a similar approach to that used with smallpox, following its eradication from the human population in 1979, is now taken with control of laboratory stocks of rinderpest virus.
Destroying the virus should be the main priority. In certain cases, virus-containing materials can be safely transported to an FAO/OIE-approved high containment facility for biologically secure storage. African countries have found a good model by agreeing to either destroy their rinderpest material or transfer it to be kept in the custody of the African Union's Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre in Ethiopia. Others could emulate this model.
As part of the rinderpest post-eradication strategy, countries are committed to maintaining a sufficient level of monitoring and surveillance for rinderpest virus outbreaks until 2020.
The commitment of donors was key in eradicating rinderpest, only the
second disease in history to have been successfully eradicated?
Only time will tell if rinderpest has been successfully eradicated. OIE and FAO were not alone in combatting this disease as the EU, through the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) also contributed a great deal to combatting this disease as did countries in both South America and south east Asia. However the nature of the virus itself had a part to play as its virulence decreased dramatically throughout the last century. The inidence of the disease and fatalities reduced to such an extent that clinical symptoms were reduced to such an extent that confirmation of the disease was totally reliant on laboratory confirmation. Hot spots for the re-emergence of rinderpest could still remain in the wild buffalo of east Africa and in the cross boundary animal movements between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and even Iraq. If the virus does remain as a weakened form, with little evidence of clinical symptoms and remains undiagnosed, then there is the ever present risk that its virulence could increase and we see the emergence of rinderpest epidemics again.
It is too early for us to become complacent with regards to this plague of cattle and we need to remain vigilant for a few more years.