The world without rinderpest


Proceedings of the FAO Technical Consultation on the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme
Rome, Italy, 22–24 July 1996

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-103900-3

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 1996

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.



Opening address by FAO Assistant Director General, Agriculture Department, Dr A. Sawadogo

Closing address by the FAO Director of the Animal Production and Health Division, Dr T. Fujita

1. Brief summary of papers and discussions

2. Recommendations

3. Annexes

Annexe 1 Agenda

Annexe 2 List of participants

Annexe 3 Keynote address

Morbilliviruses into the twenty first century Thomas Barrett

Annexe 4 Session 1: The distribution and nature of rinderpest

The global rinderpest status in 1996 Mark Rweyemamu

Current status of rinderpest in Africa Walter N. Masiga

Rinderpest eradication in South Asia K. Rajan

Current status of rinderpest in Pakistan and Afghanistan Rafaqat H. Raja

The current rinderpest situation in the Near East, Middle and Central Asia Gholam Ali Kiani

Epidemiological and clinical features of rinderpest in the 1990s Paul Rossiter

Annexe 5 Session 2: Diagnosis and surveillance

Laboratory diagnosis and differential diagnosis of rinderpest: the role of the reference laboratories John Anderson

Diagnostic technology support to GREP by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division Martyn Jeggo

Training field veterinarians in recognition of tropical epidemic diseases Gavin Thomson

Annexe 6 Session 3: Communications and GREP

The impact of communication inputs into the PARC Programme 1987 – 1992 Philippe Van der Stichele

Multimedia communications and computer technology in the service of EMPRES and the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme Julian Hilton

Annexe 7 Session 4: Technical strategies for GREP

The world without rinderpest: the socioeconomic justification Andrew James

The world without rinderpest: outreach to marginalised communities Jeffrey C. Mariner

The world without rinderpest: outreach to the inaccessible areas. The case for a community-based approach, with reference to southern Sudan Tim Leyland

GREP strategies Mark Rweyemamu

Surveillance for achieving global polio eradication Maureen Birmingham

Contingency planning and emergency preparedness Gareth Davies

Sustainable veterinary structures Yves Cheneau

OIE standards for epidemiological surveillance systems for rinderpest Alain Provost

Global Early Warning System against rinderpest and other major epidemics Bill Geering

Global early reaction against rinderpest and other major epidemics Peter Roeder

Annexe 8 Financing

Financing the eradication of rinderpest and other major epidemic diseases: The EU strategy and experience in Africa Michael Dale

Strengthening veterinary services for livestock diseases control: the European Commission involvement and experience in Asia Alain Vandersmissen

IFAD's experience of the multi-donor initiative for financing the eradication of the New World screwworm and the follow-up Ahmed E. Sidahmed


This report summaries discussions which took place over three days of the first Technical Consultation Meeting concerning the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP). The meeting, with the theme “The World Without Rinderpest”, was hosted by FAO's EMPRES (Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases) Programme to review progress with, and assist with developing strategies for, advancing the GREP. The Technical Consultation Meeting was followed immediately by an Expert Consultation Meeting which was charged with elaborating a strategy for development of the EMPRES programme for which GREP is the main focus. The Expert Consultation used the information presented in the first meeting to develop a “Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme Blueprint” to provide authoritative guidelines for all countries and regions involved in GREP to ensure a sound basis for monitored progress towards global eradication of rinderpest by the year 2010.

The Technical Consultation on GREP attempted to approach rinderpest eradication from a broader perspective than purely the technical domain. This multi-disciplinary examination of the issues included specialists at the cutting edge of biotechnology (molecular biology), field veterinary specialists who have designed novel, community participatory systems for animal health activities in pastoral communities and areas under strife, Directors of Veterinary Services and senior veterinary officials of strategic countires under GREP, disease investigation specialists, quantitative epidemiologists, disease control strategy planners and analysts, a livestock economist, communication and multi-media information specialists, campaign managers, veterinary structure and organization specialists and technical representatives of key bilateral and multi-lateral donors, as well as the participation of UNICEF, WHO and OIE.

It is hoped that the outcome of this Technical Consultation and the accompanying EMPRES Expert Consultation will offer appropriate guidance to all those who are involved in GREP in order to ensure a successful outcome to the worldwide campaign to eradicate cattle plague (rinderpest) from the world. This will be the first animal disease to be eradicated and it is not an exaggeration to say that, if successful, this would be one of the greatest achievements ever in veterinary science.

The agenda, list of participants and the papers presented are given as annexes to this document.

Following an introductory speech by the Assistant Director General of the Agriculture Department of FAO and a key note address on morbilliviruses, the Technical Consultation Meeting comprised sessions which dealt with the distribution and nature of rinderpest, diagnosis and surveillance, communications, technical strategies and financing. Each session included discussion periods and the outcome of the meeting was a set of recommendations for the guidance of GREP.

Opening Address by Dr A. Sawadogo, FAO Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be able to be with you this morning to open this most important Technical Consultation on “The World Without Rinderpest”. At the outset I would like to welcome you to FAO and thank you all for having travelled so far and given up your valuable time so willingly this week to help us plan the global eradication of this devastating livestock disease.

There is no need to remind you, the professionals, of the features of rinderpest. Suffice to say that it is one of the most serious epidemic livestock diseases, a plague which down the centuries has caused catastrophic cattle losses in Asia, Europe and Africa and which has the potential to do so again unless we stop it.

The technical capabilities are available for the global eradication of rinderpest, just as has already been achieved in the human health field with smallpox. It is very pleasing to note that great strides have already been made in recent years and as far as is known the disease now only remains present in limited areas of Africa, the Near East, and Central and South Asia.

Epidemic livestock diseases such as rinderpest are no respecters of national boundaries. The control and eradication efforts of individual countries may be continually frustrated by re-introduction of disease across their borders. The eradication of transboundary diseases therefore can only be achieved through international cooperation and carefully coordinated regional and global programmes.

FAO has long recognised these simple facts and has for many years played a major role in international coordination of the fight against major epidemic livestock diseases. In order to give even greater impetus to these activities, FAO in 1994 established the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (or EMPRES for short) as one of its priority programmes. One of the most immediate tasks of the EMPRES programme, on the animal diseases side, is the coordination of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, complementing and contributing to the activities of international organizations, such as the Organization of African Unity and the Office International des Epizooties, and major funding organizations such as the European Commission.

We have now reached a critical phase in the global fight against rinderpest. As I have already said there are only a few endemic foci of the disease left. However the flip side of the coin is that in many regions there are now large populations of fully susceptible cattle and buffaloes in which rinderpest could spread like wildfire if the virus was introduced. It is salutary to remember that when rinderpest was introduced to northern Africa in the late 1880's it spread over the whole African continent within 10 years causing millions of deaths in cattle and wildlife.

It is therefore essential that national, regional and finally global rinderpest eradication campaigns be rigorously followed through to their absolute successful conclusion. This means identifying and eliminating every last pocket of infection and proving, according to international norms laid down by the Office International des Epizooties, that eradication has really been achieved. To do otherwise would be to repeat the costly mistakes of the past.

The ideas that are generated at this technical consultation on “The World without Rinderpest” will be picked up by a smaller Expert Consultation on the FAO EMPRES-Livestock programme which will be held immediately afterwards. The Expert Consultation will attempt to translate these ideas into a detailed blueprint for the global eradication of rinderpest by the year 2010.

This detailed blueprint will in turn be used by FAO as a basis for advising and assisting member countries and regional groups on the conduct of their rinderpest eradication programmes. It will used by FAO in its important role as coordinator of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you will thus see the importance of your Technical Consultation on “The World without Rinderpest”. I wish you well in your deliberations and now have great pleasure in opening the consultation. FAO looks forward to continue working together with you to rid the world of this dreaded livestock scourge.

Closing address by Dr T. Fujita, FAO Director of the Animal Production and Health Division

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Animal Production and Health Division, I wish to express our sincere thanks to all of you who have so actively participated in this important meeting to make it such a success.

I appreciate very much contributions from each participant from the different countries and organizations to provide valuable information and constructive discussions for FAO's future strategies which will be carried out under the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme.

As you are already well aware, FAO has its priority programmes of EMPRES as well as of Food Security. Rinderpest is the main thrust of the livestock component of EMPRES and FAO has started to tackle this important issue for eradication of this disease in the world.

FAO needs more comprehensive strategies to achieve this important mission for coordination of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme. For this reason, during the last two and a half days, this Technical Consultation has no doubt contributed substantially to the consideration of future strategies, through the presentation of technical reports, past valuable experiences and the exchange of views in relation to the control of rinderpest.

I heard from colleagues of my Division that this Consultation has dedicated its efforts in discussing enthusiastically the overall aspects of rinderpest eradication, which I appreciate indeed.

I would like to extend my apology for not being able to attend the whole meeting, because other commitments have prevented me from doing so.

Those points which were suggested during the meeting, will be picked up by the small group of the Expert Consultation on the FAO EMPRES-LIVESTOCK PROGRAMME, as mentioned during the first day of this meeting. The discussions of this meeting will really be a base for preparation of a report to advise the Director-General of FAO on goals, priorities and strategies for the EMPRES, which will also be used as a basis for advice to member countries. In this regard, I should like to single out for mention your own recommendation for a country-by-country timetable towards the goal of global rinderpest eradication. This, plus the new emphasis on EARLY WARNING and EARLY REACTION should enable us to provide, concrete and practical advice to member countries.

Your recommendations are timely as we prepare ourselves for the World Food Summit.

I feel confident that your recommendations will be of immense importance towards the World Without Rinderpest.

I would like to now extend best wishes to all of you as you return home to work, and I look forward to seeing you again in the future.

Again, thank you very much for your cooperation.