Animal health officials still trying to rid the world of Rinderpest

by | Aug 8, 2016 | 5 Ag Stories, News

by Ben Nuelle World of Agriculture 8-8-16

Rinderpest virus is a disease eradicated from livestock but it is still held in 22 countries around the world. A K-State Veterinarian explains the process of ridding of the leftover virus.

Rinderpest was a viral disease found in cattle. After a widespread eradication campaign, the last diagnosis of the disease happened in 2001.

Keith Hamilton is Executive Director of International Programs at K-State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

When he worked for the World Organization for Animal Health, one of his jobs dealt with helping WOAH member-countries rid the virus.

?We were working with member-countries to try to get them to destroy the virus or send it to one of five approved holding facilities,? Hamilton says. ?All of the member-countries of WOAH signed a resolution in 2011 saying they would destroy the virus or send it to one of the approved facilities. Now we?re working convincing them to fulfill that international commitment.?

Hamilton says some member-countries have already destroyed the virus or in the process of shipping it to an approved facility.

He says some labs holding the Rinderpest virus have a lower bio-security level than others so there?s still a risk the virus can escape.

?Today a Rinderpest outbreak would only occur in the virus was accidentally released or intentionally released by a criminal. There is a risk the virus might escape. If you were able to consolidate those virus stocks into a small number of high containment facilities that has a high level of bio-security, you can really reduce the risk.?