South African cattle dead from a devastating outbreak of rinderpest, 1896 (photographer unknown; public domain image).
The following are excerpts of an opinion piece written by Monique Eloit, director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
‘For centuries, rinderpest, a highly contagious and fatal cattle plague, spread across the world bringing social and economic devastation.
‘This deadly virus, passed through bodily fluids, preyed on cattle and buffalo and caused fever, severe diarrhea and dehydration.
When it first emerged in Africa at the end of the 19th century, it killed up to 90 percent of the continent’s cattle herd.
‘At the peak of its reach, it decimated livestock from Europe to Africa, from the Philippines to Brazil. In Nigeria alone, the losses to rinderpest throughout the 1980s amounted to $2 billion.
‘In the grip of this threat, a global response was mounted.
The World Organisation for Animal…
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