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Fears of Rinderpest re-emergence thickens as Laboratories still retain sample virus



FAO task Nigeria stockholders on sustained vigilance, surveillance

July 4th, 2017, Abuja - Advocacy to reduce the   risk of Rinderpest re-emergence has continued to gain traction, as livestock  stakeholders in Nigeria have been tasked by the Food and Agriculture of   Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to contribute to monitoring and   promptly report any warning signals of the animal disease.

Rinderpest was one of devastating   infectious Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) that caused the death of   millions of cattle, buffaloes and several wild animal species over centuries.   After more than a century of hard work across the world, the disease was   declared globally eradicated in 2011. However, the virus is still stored in a   number of laboratories posing a reintroduction risk for the virus into cattle   grazing grounds and create possibilities of dissemination into wider areas.

To ensure that awareness is entrenched, FAO in collaboration with the Nigeria   government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development   (FMARD), hosted a Livestock stakeholders' strategic communication meeting on   Tuesday July 4th, 2017 in Abuja, to create awareness on the importance of   disease recognition and timely reporting for early warning.

At   the Seminar in Abuja, FAO Senior Animal Health Officer, Secretariat of   Rinderpest Dr. Samia Metwally said, "While assuring livestock handlers that   FAO is finalizing a Global Rinderpest Action Plan (GRAP) including the   operational framework for vaccine reserve to prepare and immediately respond   to and recover from the re-emergence of rinderpest  if ever comes back, it is better to be   aware of the devastating effect of the disease and maintain effective   surveillance to forestall its re-emergence."

The   Director of Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the FMARD, Dr. Gideon   Mshebwala, confirmed the awareness activity facilitated by FAO is to ensure   effective monitoring and vigilance over the emergence of crisis, saying that   countries must "continue to monitor and discuss the disease towards achieving   emergency preparedness capacity in the Country and to maintain the global   freedom from Rinderpest".

Some   cattle breeders at the meeting admitted that there are some other transboundary   animal diseases (TADs) that currently burden the pastoralists' livestock in   the country, like foot and mouth disease.

Participants   at the meeting incorporated government officials in the Veterinary and animal   husbandry department, cattle breeders associations in Nigeria, female   pastoralists and private practitioners in veterinary and Animal husbandry.

Implementation of the communication campaign   will start beginning of September 2017, on recognition of the disease and   what to do if there is a suspected case of rinderpest: isolate the affected animal and immediately report to   the veterinary authorities.

FAO had warned that the TADs   can be easily spread to other countries with unpleasant economic, trade, food   security impacts. To avert the devastating socio-economic effects therefore,   effective control and management is required between countries. The most   common TADs include Foot-and-mouth disease, contagious bovine   pleuropneumonia, lumpy skin disease, sheep and goat pox, peste des petits   ruminants, African swine fever, rabies and brucellosis.

Related Links:

History of Rinderpest



David Tsokar

National Communication   Officer,

Telephone: +234 805 343 7947