• Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague, is a highly contagious viral disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals (mainly cattle and buffalo). The classical form of rinderpest is one of the most lethal diseases of cattle, and can have a catastrophic effect in naïve herds.
  • In the past, it had terrible consequences on food security and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries, where rinderpest was responsible for famines and devastating economic losses.

Learn from the past

  • Rinderpest has been known since the first domestication of livestock and is reported to have originated in Central Eurasia, spreading later to Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia, following trade and migration routes. Rinderpest triggered extensive famines in Africa and hindered agricultural development in Asia.
  • After decades of internationally concerted efforts to eradicate this disease, rinderpest was officially declared eradicated from the planet by the OIE and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in 2011 and is therefore the first and only animal disease to have been eradicated.

However, there is still a risk of reoccurrence:

    •   Rinderpest has been declared as eradicated thus one single case could undermine this achievement!
    •   A single release of the virus could cause the reoccurrence of the disease throughout the world.
    •   It took decades of joint efforts to eradicate the disease, including billions of dollars.


Recognize the disease
In cattle, the most susceptible species, classical signs of the disease include fever, erosive lesions in the mouth, discharge from the nose and eyes, profuse diarrhoea and dehydration, often leading to death within 10 to 15 days. In other species, rinderpest may show milder clinical signs.

The “famous 4Ds”:
Depression, Discharges, Diarrhoea & Death, together with fever (and/or mouth lesions) are typical clinical signs.

FAO-OIE E-learning: Rinderpest Disease Recognition

Click on the image to access the first of a series of courses on rinderpest