Progress made on tackling livestock disease

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Peste des Petits Ruminants - or goat plague - can kill up to 90% of infected livestock within days
Peste des Petits Ruminants - or goat plague - can kill up to 90% of infected livestock within days
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have made further progress on their global programme to eradicate the viral disease Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).

They held a two-day strategy session last week at the FAO headquarters in Rome, which was attended by animal health experts, government representatives, livestock professionals and other global stakeholders.

PPR is a highly contagious viral disease affecting small ruminants, including sheep and goats, that can kill as up to 90% of the animals it infects within days.

The two bodies are working together following the successful eradication of Rinderpest – a similarly devastating livestock disease – in 2011. FAO and OIE began mobilising support for a similar effort aimed at wiping out PPR. In 2015, the international community agreed on a global strategy for PPR eradication, setting 2030 as the target date for elimination of the disease.

Five-year strategy

The eradication effort will involve a combined approach of strengthening countries’ veterinary health services and systems for disease surveillance, vaccination campaigns, and awareness-raising and capacity building. An inexpensive, safe and reliable vaccine against PPR does exist, as do simple diagnostic tests, while the virus has a relatively short infectious phase and does not survive for long outside a host.

The five-year plan discussed at the meeting aims to move the strategy into action, focusing on those countries where PPR is known to exist or where its status has never been assessed. It was drafted following a series of regional consultations organized by FAO and OIE during 2015 and 2016.

Full details of the initial five year PPR eradication work plan will be released in September by FAO and OIE.

Related topics: Livestock, EU, Italy, Lamb

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