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The Global Effort to Eradicate Rinderpest - International Food Policy ...

The Global Effort to Eradicate Rinderpest - International Food Policy ...

Incidents of collective

Incidents of collective death, most likely due to rinderpest, were recorded twice in Japan during the seventeenth century, starting in the years 1638 and 1672, each lasting two to four years. However, the rinderpest virus was not constantly present in Japan; the history of rinderpest there is closely linked to that of China and Korea, also intimately connected, where rinderpest epidemics were repeatedly experienced, for example during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Kishi 1976). Again, an upsurge of rinderpest in the Shanghai district of China in 1869 was mirrored by the appearance of the disease in Korea, where almost 50,000 cattle deaths were recorded in Korea’s Yamaguchi prefecture (that nearest to Japan). By 1872 the disease had spread to Japan, leading to the deaths of more than 42,000 cattle. In all, from 1872 to 1911, there were 19 outbreaks of which 134 originated in Korea, four from China, and two from an unknown source. Death rates exceeded 90 percent, indicating the high sensitivity of Korean and Japanese cattle to rinderpest. Although the invasions of rinderpest in Japan continued to occur into the twentieth century, the last cases there were in 1924 and in Korea in 1931. South Asia In the Indian subcontinent, somewhat surprisingly, reports of rinderpest occurrence became frequent only in the late eighteenth century and, increasingly, into the nineteenth century. From that time, epidemics occurred regularly, repeatedly killing a significant proportion of cattle and buffaloes, the results of which influenced rinderpest ecology in the whole of South, Southeast and even East Asia. Despite heroic attempts at mass vaccination for many decades in the twentieth century, and progress in limiting the disease impact and area affected, little progress was made in eliminating the infection until the 1990s. The area that became modern-day Pakistan was severely affected by rinderpest throughout most of the twentieth century with major upsurges being suppressed by vaccination. The last such dramatic epidemic occurred in 1994 when rinderpest was introduced into the Northern Areas by buffaloes from the Punjab, where an upsurge of rinderpest, itself originating in Sindh province, had been recorded during 1993–94. Classical cattle plague resulted with more than 40,000 cattle, yaks, cattle and yak hybrids, and buffaloes dying during the first months of the epidemic (Rossiter et al. 1998). The epidemic spread slowly but progressively, until 1997 when it was eliminated by intensive vaccination campaigns conducted by the Government of Pakistan, with assistance from the FAO aided by the European Commission (EC). From 1999 the FAO mounted a program of assistance to Pakistan to eradicate rinderpest and from 2002 the European Union (EU) added additional valuable financial support for strengthening disease surveillance. Studies rapidly revealed that far from being ubiquitous as had been suspected, rinderpest had generally been restricted in the recent past to the southern part of the Indus River buffalo tract in Sindh province where reactive vaccination focusing on outbreaks suppressed the disease. Starting in the early 1990s, it appears that problems related to the quality of the rinderpest vaccine had led to both an upsurge of rinderpest along the Indus River in Sindh province and to the seeding of the virus into other areas. Epidemics such as those in the Northern Areas, other parts of Pakistan, in eastern Afghanistan and possibly as far afield as Iran, Iraq, and Turkey were the result. The Landhi Dairy Colony near Karachi, founded in the 1950s to house 28,000 cattle and buffaloes, was one of several enclaves that became a home for hundreds of thousands of buffaloes and cattle. The colony became notorious for being continuously infected with rinderpest, yet studies between 1999 and 2003 clearly indicated that rinderpest had been eliminated from large dairy colonies such as Landhi. However, rinderpest continued to circulate in the small herds of buffaloes in the more remote areas of Sindh until October 2000 when the last cases of rinderpest were detected in small farms near Karachi (Hussain et al. 2001). In addition to routine and emergency disease-reporting systems, active village searches for evidence of rinderpest using a participatory disease-searching methodology (Mariner and Roeder 2003) were put in place throughout the country with a concentration on Sindh and Punjab provinces. The findings confirmed that rinderpest had ceased to circulate after 2000. Vaccination was withdrawn in 2000 and serological studies demonstrated freedom from infection, allowing the OIE to award Pakistan rinderpest-free accreditation in 2007. 8

History records only five outbreaks in Afghanistan since 1950, suggesting that rinderpest was a relatively rare event that resulted from periodic upsurges of the virus in Pakistan. However, rinderpest in Afghanistan was of major regional significance, since it moved on from there into Iran on several occasions, causing a pandemic in the Near East during the 1960s and 1970s (see below), and in 1950 and 1951 breached the defenses of the former Soviet Union to enter Turkmenistan and Tajikistan (as it had previously in 1944). In terms of rinderpest ecology, Afghanistan can be considered as an extension of the western Pakistan ecosystem because the two are linked ethnically, by contiguous livestock populations, by transhumance, and by two-way trade in livestock. Bangladesh seems to have been free from rinderpest after 1958 in which year approximately 3 million cattle and buffaloes had died in the northeast of the country. Prior to that event, the history of rinderpest had been one of occasional introduction from neighboring countries with an epidemic spread within the country, but not of persistence. Rinderpest spread to Nepal from India on 13 occasions between 1952 and 1989, which was the last year the country was affected. After losing 25 percent of its cattle and yak herds in 1969, Bhutan remained free of rinderpest thereafter. Thus, as rinderpest was eliminated from northern India so did it depart from Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. West Asia Rinderpest repeatedly swept into Iran from its neighbors, causing great losses. The source could not always be identified, but until the 1990s they came primarily from the east—Afghanistan and Pakistan. A particularly severe pandemic in the Near East swept from Afghanistan through Iran to the Mediterranean littoral and into the Arabian Peninsula from 1969 to 1973, invading virtually all countries. Another wave of rinderpest engulfed Iraq from 1985, resulting from 600 Indian dairy buffaloes being introduced through the port of Basrah (or possibly via Kuwait). The buffaloes were distributed widely in Iraq and caused a countrywide virgin epidemic, which in Baghdad’s Al-Fedeliya Dairy Village alone killed half the resident 30,000 buffaloes. The last of the introductions into Iran from South Asia took place in the mid-1980s at which time there was a distinct change in the pattern of rinderpest movement. Incursions in 1987 and 1989 entered from the north of its western neighbor, Iraq, as also happened in Turkey. The rinderpest invasion of Turkey in 1991 caused alarm in Europe and was met by action for control from the FAO. An upsurge of rinderpest in the “Kurdish Triangle” (Iraq, Iran, and Turkey) in 1993–94 elicited a strong FAO response in the form of a regional project covering the three countries to resolve the rinderpest problem. Rinderpest persisted in the central and southern governorates of Iraq until September 1994 when the intensive, repeated vaccination of buffaloes and cattle organized as a national exercise eliminated it. However, it lingered on in the northern governorates until 1996 when it was last detected near Dohuk in feedlots, causing a very mild disease syndrome with a mortality rate of less than 5 percent. It was eliminated from there by intensive vaccination campaigns organized by the FAO between 1994 and 1996, using funds from the U.N. Oil for Food Program. These campaigns ended the pattern of outbreaks spreading from Iraq to Iran and Turkey. Until the mid-1990s, the persistence of rinderpest in pockets in the Arabian Peninsula was supplemented by periodic reintroductions from India and Pakistan. For example, the disease appears to have been endemically established in Saudi Arabia during the 1970s and 1980s (Hafez et al. 1985), persisting until the mid-1990s in feedlots in Al Qassim and Al Hoffuf, which were stocked with both traditional indigenous and improved calves from dairy farms. The concerted vaccination of newborn colostrum-deprived calves eventually broke the transmission chain. The last reintroduction seems to have been into Qatar and Saudi Arabia, most likely through the United Arab Emirates, in 1996. The last of the rinderpest introductions into Oman occurred with Pakistani fighting bulls in the same year. Rinderpest was reintroduced into Yemen in 1971 and generated an epidemic that persisted for many years with fluctuating incidence. The coastal Tihama region in particular experienced a high incidence of disease. From this region, milking cattle moved to highland markets and villages, leading to slowly evolving epidemics throughout the highland areas, with occasional years of exceptional incidence 9

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