Global Community Marks Rinderpest Eradication

After years of sustained combined efforts to stifle Rinderpest, a deadly cattle plague that caused devastating mortality on animal health and threatened food security for millions in Africa has finally been eradicated from the face of the earth. To mark the occasion, a commemorative ceremony was presided over by the outgoing FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf during on-going 37th biennial FAO Conference that ran from 25 June – 2 July 2011 in Rome, Italy, which was attended among others, by the Director AU IBAR, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, a former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a Nobel Prize-winner Peter Doherty and high-level representatives of FAO member countries.

This highly infectious disease killed millions of cattle, buffalo and other animals, and caused hunger and economic hardship, primarily in Africa, Asia and Europe. The eradication of Rinderpest is a major milestone in the veterinary profession only comparable to the eradication of smallpox in the human health sector, comes in the wake of confirmation by the OIE that the disease was no longer circulating in its natural habitat. The last outbreak of Rinderpest was registered in wild buffalo at Meru National Park in Kenya in 2001. [Source: AU-IBAR]