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Video transcript: Surveillance and training key to cattle plague endgame

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October 2010

Dr Michael Baron, Group Leader, IAH
The rinderpest was the worst cattle disease we have ever known. Mortality rates in affected animals could be as high as 90 or even 100%. It was the most dreaded of all cattle diseases. Since the 1950s there have been various attempts to eradicate or control this disease particularly in the developing world. It had been eradicated previously in Europe but in India and Africa, in many countries, rinderpest continued to be a major problem. The contribution that my institute, the Institute for Animal Health, made to these control measures was primarily in the area of diagnostics. We developed new techniques for diagnosing the disease and for tracking the disease movement through from country to country and we helped in educating veterinary authorities in different countries in the use of these techniques.

From the 1990s, the FAO and the OIE put together a programme to completely eradicate rinderpest, the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme or GREP, with the aim of removing rinderpest from the world by 2010. So GREP was a coordinated programme where individual countries set out to vaccinate against the disease, eliminate the disease from a country and then prove by stopping vaccination that they no longer had disease present. As far as we can tell from all of the evidence we have been able to gather from looking for the disease in many countries and the fact there have been no outbreaks of rinderpest for nearly 10 years which is unheard of in the history of this disease, we have done it. The disease has gone and this is a fantastic achievement not only for all of the people who were involved in the programme but also for the people who's cattle will no longer get sick.

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