Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery December 18, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

What is Rinderpest?

Rinderpest (Cattle Plague) is an infectious viral disease of ungulates including cattle, wildebeest, water buffalo, antelope, sheep and goats. Rinderpest outbreaks have caused massive losses of cattle and subsequent famine in parts of Africa. The disease has been targeted for global eradication by 2010. Today, Rinderpest is found only in isolated areas of Africa.

Where Is Rinderpest Found?

Parts of Africa, especially Somalia. The United States and Canada are considered free of Rinderpest.

Can Rinderpest Affect People?

Rinderpest does not pose a direct threat to public health but may contribute to widespread famine if an outbreak occurs.

What Are Signs Of Rinderpest?

  • Excessive salivation
  • Foul or putrid smelling breath
  • Lesions of the mouth and tongue
  • Watery, bloody diarrhea
  • Anorexia (not willing to eat)
  • Watery discharge from eyes and nose
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness

Can Rinderpest Be Treated?

There is no specific treament for Rinderpest. The disease is usually fatal. Any animal suspected of having Rinderpest should be reported to the State Veterinarians or USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge immediately.

How Can Rinderpest Be Prevented?

The Global Rinderpest Eradication Program was adopted in the 1980s to prevent the spread of Rinderpest and eradicate the disease worldwide. This program has been largely successful due to vaccination and biosecurity practices including restriction of animal movement and the removal of infected animals. An international goal is to eradicate Rinderpest by 2010. If successful, Rinderpest will join Smallpox as the only successfully-eliminated diseases in history.

Where Can I Find Additional Information?

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.