Controlling animal diseases to preserve our future

Rinderpest, the first and only animal disease to have been eradicated from the face of the earth, shows the path to succeed in the struggle against major animal diseases which are still rife today. To mark World Animal Day, the OIE retraces – through a new web portal – the steps which enabled us to eliminate this disease and the new challenges that confront us if we are to avoid any re-appearance.

Paris, 4 October 2016 – The world was officially declared free of rinderpest in 2011. This disease, which had been a scourge on society in Asia, Europe and Africa, is only the second disease (after smallpox) to have been completely eradicated, after decades of concerted national and international effort.

Before 2011, rinderpest was the single most dangerous cattle disease, because of its high mortality rate and extremely contagious nature. In addition to the devastation it wrought on animal health, it had very serious consequences for human populations, causing large-scale famines in Africa and hampering agricultural development in Asia.

Although this disease is now considered as having been eradicated from earth, future generations must remain vigilant to guard against any possible re-occurrence.

The new OIE rinderpest portal brings together a wealth of information to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of this issue and of how the OIE and its partners co-ordinated the global eradication of this disease. In particular, it describes the tools developed in collaboration with the FAO within the framework of their joint strategy against the disease. Furthermore, this platform assembles communication tools tailored to a variety of audiences, to enable a better understanding of the challenges involved in the post-eradication phase of the disease.

The eradication of rinderpest continues to be the example on which the current global strategies of the OIE and its partners are based; for example, in the case of the global strategy for the control and elimination of peste des petits ruminants, as well as for foot and mouth disease.

On World Animal Day, it is essential to remember these efforts, which perfectly illustrate the OIE’s mission: protecting animals, preserving our future.

OIE urges countries to destroy rinderpest stocks

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