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Major events in rinderpest history

  • Professor Bernardino Ramazzini [1633-1714] attempts to protect cattle from rinderpest in 1711 by using infected strips of cloth impregnated with contaminated fluids (setons).
  • 1700's: Giovanni Maria Lancisi, Italian physician and epidemiologist, recommends control methods that are still valid today.
  • 1762: The world's first veterinary school opens in Lyon to teach Lancisi's principles of rinderpest control.
  • 1871: A rise in rinderpest outbreaks in Europe leads to an international conference in Vienna. The recommendations that emerge from this conference support the eradication of the disease in many countries in Europe.
  • The International Institute of Agriculture (IAA) opens in Rome in May 1908, with the intent of creating a clearinghouse for the collection of agricultural statistics. It is created primarily due to the efforts of David Lubin. After World War II, both its assets and mandate are handed over to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
  • 1920s: J. T. Edwards makes a breakthrough discovery that animals which are given a diluted rinderpest virus preparation are protected from rinderpest for life.
  • 1924: OIE, later called the World Organisation for Animal Health, is created as an inter-governmental effort to combat rinderpest.
  • 1938: Meeting in Nairobi on rinderpest: The Conference of Governors of British East Africa Territories presents early reports on clinical observations of rinderpest in buffaloes.
  • During World War II: The United States and Canada work on a new rinderpest vaccine on Grosse Île, Canada, to protect against possible enemy use of the virus as a weapon.
  • 16 October 1945: FAO is created, taking over from IIA and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), with rinderpest control as an important part of its programme.
  • 1948: Veterinary workers from 22 countries and territories attend the first international workshop organized by FAO on rinderpest vaccines, their production and use in the field.
  • Post WWII: FAO assists in the development of improved, inexpensive vaccines that are for extensive rinderpest control operations. For the first time there is hope of eradicating the disease.
  • Early 1950s: FAO begins to convene regular meetings involving animal health authorities from around the globe to guide and coordinate various regional/national campaigns against rinderpest.
  • 1951: Interafrican Bureau of Epizootic Diseases, later the African Union Interafrican Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), is founded to help eliminate rinderpest from Africa.
  • 1956-1963: A rinderpest vaccine tissue culture is developed and field tested and found to be safe and economical. This contrasts with the previous method of inoculating cattle and buffalo with local virus strains mixed with hyperimmune serum (blood antibodies) in order to neutralize the virus yet stimulate the cattle to build an immune response.
  • 1962: The Joint Project 15 (JP15), launched under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU, 1963) embarks on an ambitious regional vaccination campaign. By 1970 the disease is beaten back in many African nations. But some governments scaled down or cancel vaccination and surveillance programs, leading to resurgence of the disease.
  • 1980-1982: An explosive outbreak in Africa kills millions of animals and leads to billions of dollars in losses.
  • During the last African pandemic, in 1980, FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme provided emergency assistance provided by amounting to USD 6.16 million.
  • 1983: Despite its earlier containment, rinderpest recolonizes a swath of Asia stretching from Bangladesh to Turkey.
  • 1980s-1990s: FAO begins talks with affected countries and other partners to discuss establishing a global, coordinated anti-rinderpest campaign.
  • 1987: The Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) begins operations in 34 African countries.
  • 1986-1990: A thermostable vaccine (more resistant to high temperatures) is developed, making vaccination campaigns in Africa more effective.
  • 1992: FAO forecasts the elimination of rinderpest in 2005 and the verification of freedom from infection by 2010.
  • 1994: FAO's Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP),with support from by OIE and IAEA, is formed to coordinate the global eradication of rinderpest by 2010.
  • 1996: The vision and prime elements of GREP are defined and GREP is identified as the main thrust of the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES)/Livestock Programme.
  • 1997: GREP blueprints for progress towards verified freedom from rinderpest infection before 2010 are established for each member country.
  • June 2009: FAO and OIE reach an agreement for the establishment of the Joint FAO/OIE Committee for the global declaration of rinderpest.
  • October 2010: FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf states in his World Food Day 2010 speech that FAO is concluding its field operations and expects to formally declare eradication by mid-2011 together with the OIE.
  • November 2010: A massive, bronze statue of a wild buffalo near the entrance to Meru National Park is unveiled near the site of the world's last-confirmed case of rinderpest.
  • FAO/OIE Committee meetings: Rome (December 2009), Paris (April 2010), Vienna (July 2010), Rome (October 2010) and Paris (January 2011).
  • January 12-13, 2011: Final meeting of the OIE ad hoc Group on evaluation of rinderpest disease status.
  • 25 June, 2011: Unveiling of plaque in commemoration of rinderpest eradication, FAO Headquarters, Rome.
  • 27 June, 2011: Symposium on rinderpest eradication "Achievements and obligations," FAO Headquarters, Rome.
  • 28 June, 2011: High Level Commemorative Ceremony on Global Rinderpest Freedom: Declaration of Global Freedom from Rinderpest, 37th FAO Conference, FAO Headquarters, Rome.