80% of global livestock under threat of deadly disease


By Ismail Auwal

At least 80 per cent of the world’s ruminants are under the threats of being infected by Peste des petits Ruminants (PPR) disease, also known as sheep and goat plague, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns.

The disease threatens to infect up to 80 per cent of the world’s 2.5 billion small ruminants if not controlled, putting enormous pressure on some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The PPR, was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in the 1940s, It has spread over the last 15 years to more than 70 countries – mostly in Asia, Africa and Middle East.

The diseases is a highly contagious animal disease affecting domestic and wild small ruminants.

PPR can be deadly for animals – with a 30-70 percent fatality rate, it does not infect humans, but can affect their food security and means of livelihoods.

There are, however, positive signs that the impact of vaccination campaigns has reduced the spread of the PPR disease by two-thirds in recent years.

The FAO says the vaccination, which is funded by countries with support from FAO and partners, has been ongoing in 50 countries.

In just 12 of these countries, over 300 million goats and sheep were vaccinated between 2015 and 2018.

Two regions have been the worst hit by PPR, and reported the majority of outbreaks between 2015-2019 – Asia over 75 per cent and Africa over 24 percent, although the disease may also be underreported.

The FAO says nearly half of all outbreaks in this period occurred in only five countries, highlighting the urgent need for strengthening prevention and control mechanisms.

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