News / Health

Cattle Plague Declared Eradicated

Cattle killed by rinderpest, Sudan, 1987
Cattle killed by rinderpest, Sudan, 1987

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Scientists are declaring victory over a deadly animal disease that cattle herders around the world have dreaded for millennia.

Rinderpest becomes the second disease in all of human history to be successfully eradicated, after smallpox.

It played a role in the fall of Rome, the French Revolution and paved the way for the colonization of Africa, historians say. Where rinderpest struck, cattle death was swift and often total.

“If you could imagine that you are an owner of 100 animals - a milking herd - by the end of the week, you would have zero, it would go so fast through the population,” said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Animal Health Service Chief, Juan Lubroth.

And the effects were devastating for those who depended on cattle for their livelihoods.

"There is no possible comparison between rinderpest and other diseases,"said FAO Assistant Director-General Modibo Traoré. "Of course, when cattle die, it is about meat, it is about milk, it is about other animal production.”

Widespread devastation


When rinderpest first hit sub-Saharan Africa in the late 19th century, it killed 80 to 90 percent of the region’s cattle and triggered severe famines.  

At its widest extent, in the 1920s, rinderpest stretched from northern Europe to southern Africa and east to the Philippines.

This age-old plague was finally tamed by a vaccine first developed in the 1960s. Large-scale, coordinated, village-by-village vaccination campaigns reduced the disease to a few pockets. But nomadic cattle herders in East Africa presented a particular challenge.

“Animals move from one region to another, and very often across national boundaries," said the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources’ Henry Wamwayi. "And therefore, transnational animal diseases can only be controlled if there is cooperation among countries.”

The FAO spearheaded a global eradication program beginning in 1994.

Rinderpest-free

The last known case was in Kenya in 2001. Last year, the country celebrated its certification as rinderpest-free.

But because wild animals also carry the disease, it took several years of intensive worldwide surveillance to be sure rinderpest was truly gone.

Today, Lubroth says, the world can finally claim victory.

“By having had a good vaccine and eradicating rinderpest, I think, from a food security point of view, this is a tremendous accomplishment,” he said.

Rinderpest becomes only the second disease besides smallpox to be found nowhere on earth but frozen away in a few laboratory vials, making the world a little safer for cattle and the people who depend on them.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid