Rinderpest and Peste des petits ruminants: a century of progress and the future


S.C. Bodjo, N. Nwankpa, E. Couacy-Hymann, K. Tounkara & A. Diallo

Rinderpest and Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) are two closely related viral diseases affecting ruminants caused by viruses belonging to the genus Morbillivirus. Both diseases are notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) due their high contagiosity and economic importance. Scientific developments have led to the eradication of rinderpest, which was celebrated in 2011, 250 years after the creation of the first veterinary school in Lyon. On the other hand, the geographical distribution of PPR has expanded to many regions of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It now constitutes a major concern for small ruminants globally. Following the lessons learnt from the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, efforts have been initiated to control and eradicate PPR. The PPR Global Control and Eradication Strategy which was established in 2015 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WOAH, aims to eradicate PPR by 2030. The key factors in favour of PPR eradication are the limited number of natural hosts, the absence of a vector, the availability of an effective vaccine, and the availability of diagnostic tools. Challenges are the mobilisation of sufficient resources, better understanding of the epidemiology, improving vaccines for differentiation between vaccinated and infected animals, and adapting diagnostic tests for atypical hosts. Eradicating PPR will not only represents a scientific milestone but also aligns with broader goals of poverty alleviation and economic stability in regions heavily dependent on small ruminants.

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