GLOBAL - The ground has been broken on a major international initiative to rid the world of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) – also known as sheep and goat plague – a highly contagious viral animal disease that causes major losses in regions home to millions of the world’s poorest people.
The $996.4 -million plan launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) is the first phase of what will be a 15-year effort to eradicate PPR by 2030.
“Wiping out PPR will have a major positive impact on the lives of pastoralist communities in all developing countries and directly support global efforts to end poverty and hunger by 2030,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said about the plan.
“When it comes to viral animal diseases, much attention falls on the threats they pose to human health - but their effects on economic growth, human livelihoods, quality nutrition and food security can be equally devastating. That’s why this campaign needs wide support,” he added.
“We have international standards for surveillance and diagnosis of PPR, a global system to report outbreaks, and standards for vaccines that are highly effective when applied appropriately,” OIE Director General Monique Eloit said.
“We also have international standards to prevent spread through trade, to officially recognise the control programmes of our Members, and their status as free when those programmes achieve success,” she added. “So all the tools are available to us, and are integrated into the plan. Its successful implementation now relies on the capacity of Veterinary Services at national level - the OIE is committed to provide them with ongoing support.”
While the disease is highly lethal to small ruminants – killing up to 90 per cent of infected animals —it is easily preventable with inexpensive vaccines that can be administered for as little as 25 cents and will protect the animal for its entire life.
The virus also has a relatively short infectious phase and does not survive for long outside a host, making it an ideal candidate for a concerted eradication effort.
The plan for the first five-year phase of that effort is now ready to be put into action and consists of a global strategy backed by nine regional road maps.
A pledging conference to secure financial support for the first five-year plan will be organised early next year.
TheSheepSite News Desk