Saturday, October 16, 2010

The End of Rinderpest

Via twitter: The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN reports the likely eradication of rinderpest, a disease of cattle.

"The disease has affected Europe, Asia and Africa for centuries and has caused widespread famine and decimated millions of animals, both domestic and wild. In the 1880s, rinderpest caused losses of up to one million head of cattle in Russia and central Europe," said Diouf.
When it entered Africa in the nineteenth century, it decimated millions of heads of livestock and wildlife and triggered widespread famine. It is estimated that in that pandemic alone, up to one-third of the human population of Ethiopia died of starvation as a result. The last known outbreak of rinderpest occurred in 2001 in Kenya.
A joint FAO/OIE announcement of global rinderpest eradication is expected in mid-2011, pending a review of final official disease status reports from a handful of countries to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Wikipedia is already referring to rinderpest in the past tense. PlagueBlog, however, cannot help wondering whether there's still some stashed in a freezer somewhere...