Ovine rinderpest outbreak reported in southeastern Iran

July 14, 2018

TEHRAN — An outbreak of ovine rinderpest, a contagious disease of cattle, sheep, and goats, has occurred in the southeastern province of Kerman, ISNA reported on Friday.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ovine rinderpest commonly known as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) or sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious animal disease affecting small ruminants. Once introduced, the virus can infect up to 90 percent of an animal heard, and the disease kills anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of infected animals. The PPR virus does not infect humans. 

PPR was first described in 1942 in Côte d'Ivoire. Since then the disease has spread to large regions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Today, more than 70 countries have confirmed PPR within their borders, and many countries are at risk of the disease being introduced. These regions are home to approximately 1.7 billion heads – roughly 80 percent – of the global population of sheep and goats.

Following the spread of the infection in Khabr national park, in Kerman province, so far some 50 heads of rams and wild goats have been killed.

Not vaccinating the livestock and movement of unvaccinated livestock without health permits are among the main causes of the infection outbreak in Kerman, head of wildlife diseases office of the Department of Environment (DOE) said. 

The disease was first spotted in Iran in late 1370s (1997-2000), following the smuggling of domestic livestock to the country, Siamak Masoudi explained. 

Over the past few years more than 1,200 heads of precious wild ruminants are killed by the virus, Masoudi regretted, adding that in addition to its harmful effects on the environment the virus can incur heavy costs on the economy.

According to World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standard disease control measures consisting of quarantine, movement control, sanitary slaughter, and cleaning and disinfection should be applied to prevent or control the disease. The virus is susceptible to most disinfectants. There are no medications available to treat the disease, but supportive treatment may decrease mortality. A vaccine is used where the disease is established and it provides good immunity.

MQ/MG

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