828                                                                                   Prague, 13 January 2011
                                                                                                      Last amendment on 26 May 2013



(Provisional text)

Prof.MVDr.Václav .Kouba,DrSc.
Chief, Animal Health Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

(Addendum: Rinderpest global eradication management)-


The author received on 20 September 2010 from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) an invitation to Rome to attend the proclamation of the successful completion of the global rinderpest eradication programme – the most important event in the history of veterinary medicine. The author was invited by Dr. Juan Lubroth, Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO to attend a Symposium "Lessons learned from the eradication of rinderpest for controlling other transboundary animal diseases (TADs)" to be held in Rome on 13 and 14 October 2010. In the invitation message it was declared that "FAO highly values your contribution towards the eradication of rinderpest”, which was repeated in subsequent personal letter informing also that Mr. Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General would announce on 15 October 2010 the end of the field operations against the rinderpest. This gave an impulse to elaborate a kind of inventory of author’s specific activities contributing to the worldwide eradication of this highly dangerous disease causing tremendous losses in the past.


His direct participation in the greatest global eradication programme in animal populations covered the period when he worked as the Chief, Animal Health Service (AGAH), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations being in charge of and responsible for all UN programmes in animal health. The responsibility for the programme of global eradication of rinderpest (cattle plague) was always a priority. The programme strategy and tactics were based on specific activities of international assistance to protect countries under risk, to apply recovery/eradication measures in the infected countries as well as intensive specific surveillance to identify specific epizootiological situation and to confirm rinderpest-free status. The concrete actions of international assistance were organized gradually at national, regional and continental levels and finally at global level. An important factor was the extensive production and control of anti-rinderpest vaccine and its targeted use. In addition, the author participated in previous UN positions in the activities supporting indirectly the anti-rinderpest programme through specific research, education, training, information, publications and veterinary service organization. The member country governments and sponsoring organizations required from the AGAH, FAO as United Nations agency deeds – concrete results of practical problems’ solutions and not words – abstract theory/paper works ("Facta, non verba").

The author was fortunate that he gained experience as an Assistant to Prof.
Dr. Antonín Klobouk, DrSc. who  led a Czechoslovak expedition against rinderpest in Poland during in 1921. Author’s first contact with the rinderpest was in 1964 in Mongolia, where he had the opportunity to discuss with the leadership of the Mongolian animal health service its anti-rinderpest strategy and methods and the specific vaccination system in  border areas. On this occasion he had the chance in Songino Biofactory (east of the capital city Ulaanbaatar) on 13 May 1964 to investigate clinically and pathologically control cattle artificially infected with rinderpest virus.


The main source of data for this article were the documents of Animal Health Service (AGAH), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),  responsible for executing worldwide assistance to member-country governments’  animal health programmes, including against the rinderpest as the priority disease. The reports of the author’s missions (Duty Travel Back-to-Office Reports) and the protocols from AGAH meetings, international negotiations and expert consultations’ reports  related to the measures against rinderpest were for this paper of key importance. Other sources of information were the reports presented to ministers of member country governments (e.g. during FAO biennial conferences) and by the yearbooks on animal disease worldwide occurrence as published in the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook (the author was its Editor-in-Chief: 1978-1984 and 1987) and in the OIE World Animal Health.


There were considered also the documents of  Joint FAO/IAEA Animal Production and Health Division, International Atomic Energy Agency” in Vienna, Austria which provided professional assistance to member countries, in particular introducing the most modern laboratory diagnosis of the rinderpest. Among other supporting documents there were reports and publications of regional and continental programmes. "The Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC)” – FAO Project GCP/RAF/218/JPN - was launched in 1986 by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in cooperation with the FAO. The second FAO anti-rinderpest regional project was established in the same year in West Asia entitled “The West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC)” - FAO Project RAB/86/024 -financed by the UNDP. The third FAO regional anti-rinderpest programme was called “The South Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC) – FAO Project  RAS/86/023. All these regional anti-rinderpest projects starting in 1986 were merged in a single global programme, with the aim to achieve global eradication by the year 2010 (this “horizont” deadline was based upon complex analysis of global rinderpest global situation and methods as well as conditions for their application), i.e. after a quarter century period. Later this global programme was formally called “Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP)" and  included in a special unit entitled “Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES)". The WAREC  was supported also by FAO animal production and health programme in the Middle and Near East - "Middle and Near East Regional Animal Production and Health Project (MINEADEP)" - (GCP/REM/023MUL), funded by member countries of this group. 


The author as the Editor-in-Chief regularly was evaluating rinderpest global epizootiological situation in the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook and later  as the Chief, AGAH introduced in this Yearbook *) detailed reports in three languages from 1988 on “Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Nairobi, Kenya”) and from 1989 on “West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC)”.


Personal information of  leading AGAH virologists in charge of the anti-rinderpest programmes, e.g. Dr. Yoshihiro Ozawa (Japan), Senior Animal Health Officer (Virology), later Chief, AGAH and Dr. Kris. J. Wojciechowski (Poland/Ireland), Senior Animal Health Officer (Virology), AGAH were also taken into account.

*) There were produced up to 6 500 copies every year. The majority was distributed free of charge to all: FAO, WHO and OIE member country governments, Chief Veterinary Officers, veterinary faculties, FAO and WHO animal health reference laboratories and collaborating centres, institutions of major international importance and selected international specialists. The rest was left for FAO Distribution and Sales Section.


Activities against rinderpest

The basic activity was to discover in time new rinderpest outbreaks and apply isolation measures and to identify the territories with the rinderpest occurrence (i.e. affected localities/herds – outbreaks), zones under direct specific risk, other zones under specific indirect risk, the limits of territories free of clinical cases of rinderpest and limits of territories free of rinderpest virus. This required extensive serological monitoring  always considering eventual post-vaccination reactions. The eradication strategy consisted in using radical methods of slaughtering or destruction of all specifically diseased and suspected animals as well as animal-contacts (“stamping out”). At the same time it was applied very strict quarantine of infected sites and surrounding zones supplemented with follow-up perifocal vaccination and territorial vaccination in territories under specific risk.

Participation of the author in anti-rinderpest actions was time-limited for the period of his activity at FAO HQs from 1978-1991 in the following positions: Animal Health Officer (Research and Education), Animal Health Officer (Veterinary Intelligence) and Senior Animal Health Officer (Veterinary Services) having anti-rinderpest programme supporting responsibility and later as the Chief, Animal Health Service (AGAH) having full global responsibility for the programme implementation and its results. This period was marked by the start of a frontal assault against rinderpest by the affected countries, regions, continents and  worldwide under the leadership of the AGAH FAO. In Africa, this period was preceded by improvements in the years 1962-1976 due to extensive vaccination (programme JP 15*), but its premature termination (due to economic reasons) led to a flare and spread of this infection from the residual “pockets” to the north up to Egypt, to the west up to Senegal, to the east up to Djibouti and to the south up to Tanzania. In Asia the rinderpest spread to the east up to Turkey.


*) Joint Campaign against Rinderpest in Africa  (JP 15) started in 1961 (cost about 16 million US$) didn't achieve the aim of eradication.

Provided anti-rinderpest activities of the author and of  other FAO Animal Health Service (AGAH) staff, consisted not only in global initiative, organization, international coordination, management, gaining necessary external support  as well as in concrete assistance (sending professional manpower, methods, material, funds, etc.) to member country governments. Direct assistance consisted in solving various anti-rinderpest problems on the spot during official visits of Member States, regions and continents concluded with the proposals for follow-up concrete FAO help. The assistance usually consisted,  after becoming familiar with the specific situation and influencing conditions, in various activities: identification of rinderpest situation and its trend (forecast), identification of infected territories (populations) and threatened territories, elaboration of anti-rinderpest strategy, tactics, surveillance (e.g., large-scale serological monitoring for rinderpest situation identification, post-eradication control and confirmation rinderpest-free status), contingency plans, specific protective and control measures, provision of methodologies, professional advising, assisting in rinderpest diagnosis (establishing and strengthening diagnostic laboratories including equipment and FAO international experts), production and control of anti-rinderpest vaccines, staff preparedness, education/training (sufficient number of well trained, informed and organized veterinary manpower = key factor), specific information system, legislation, strengthening of veterinary services organization**), specific research, etc. Every outbreak of this dynamic biological phenomenon was clinically and epizootiologically different under different conditions requiring different complex measures based on on-the spot investigations (therefore, mathematical models requiring reliable field data were not used).The AGAH missions also supervised the implementation of the FAO anti-rinderpest field programmes and eventually identified new or additional professional help. Occasionally, the author solved some operational problems on the spot ***).

**) Following author's initiative and under his guidance it was prepared a FAO book “Guidelines for Strengthening of Animal Health Services in Developing Countries", 1991 translated into French and Spanish.

***) During a visit of a veterinary clinic (very closed to sheep market) in Fudaliya, the city south of Baghdad, Iraq on 25 June 1989 the author together with by Dr. S. C. Mathur, rinderpest specialist (first Project Manager of the new programme WARECC), found  typical symptoms of rinderpest in a cow with a wrong diagnosis (Iraq that year reported rinderpest-free status) and immediately began emergency measures on the spot and mobilized local authorities and Ministry of Agriculture.


FAO anti-rinderpest field projects during the 1980s’ started based on the requirements of individual member country governments and of some international organizations (sponsors) as well as on Animal Health Service (AGAH) own initiative. Once approved objectives and deadlines, the AGAH developed a more detailed proposal ("Project Document") containing the main individual tasks ("Terms of Reference”) and necessary provisions in terms of methodology, personnel, material, finance, etc. for consideration and approval by relevant FAO departments and by representatives of the governments or sponsoring organizations. The document represented a detailed methodological procedures, a list of professional and supporting staff, list of needed materials, breakdown of the budget (costs: experts, support staff, travel, subcontracts, training, equipment, tools, premises, operations etc.), potential risks, controls and reporting, etc.. Very important was the selection of the best possible experts, both professionally and linguistically proven animal health specialists from AGAH "Active Roster" (several hundreds) in case of time urgency or by issuing “Vacancy Announcement” with a detailed description of the requirements for expertise, experience and language knowledge. Selected experts for the "Field Programme" went first through AGAH professional instruction ("briefing"). Material and financial provisions (including the acquisition of sponsors) was provided by other services of the FAO HQs. With exception of emergency situations requiring immediate action, no programme was initiated until it was fully secured (especially financially). Usually it was required a participation of the member country government  receiving the FAO assistance. All programmes must have the consent of relevant member country government(s). Methodological  issues as well as regional, continental and global strategic problem solutions were addressed in the FAO's own budget (“Regular Programme – RP”), from which there were reimbursed also operational (emergency) assistance programmes ("Technical Cooperation Programme - TCP). At that time the most important contributions to anti-rinderpest programmes were provided by the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP). Several  FAO programmes were funded by some member country government itself (“Trust Funds – TF”) or by more governments together ("Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries-TCDC”).


Important role played FAO reference laboratories dealing with rinderpest research and diagnosis. Extremely useful global role had Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, UK, regional role Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Muguga Laboratory, Kikuyu, Kenya, Institut Sénégalais de Recherche Agrícole, Dakar, Senegal, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, New York, USA. etc. It was always necessary to confirm clinical and epizootiological rinderpest preliminary diagnosis  etiologically in specialized virological laboratories. Full list of FAO reference laboratories and FAO collaborating centres, originally selected by Dr Y. Ozawa, the author (as Editor-in-Chief) published in FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbooks.

The worst situation, i.e. the most difficult to solve rinderpest eradication problems, was in the African continent.


The author initiated and organized special Seminar on Epizootiology and Veterinary Economics (“Séminaire FAO sur l’épizootiologie et les aspects économiques de la santé animale”) for  Directors General of Veterinary Services of all francophone African countries in Niamey, Niger, 21 January – 2 February 1983. The main purpose was to mobilize these countries against the rinderpest in Africa.


In 1986 it was established by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a special programme  called "The Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC)” which took over the managerial and coordination role at continental level being technically supported by the Animal Health Service, FAO and by the European Economic Community as the main sponsor. The headquarters was established in Nairobi, Kenya. The author during his visit in Nairobi, 19-21 January 1989 discussed the anti-rinderpest continental  issues with Dr. Walter N. Masiga, Director of the OAU/IBAR (Organization of African Unity / Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources) and with Dr. Solomon Haile-Mariam,  PARC Project Leader and Coordinator. The main discussed issues were dedicated to AGAH-FAO technical assistance to the IBAR in coordinating the campaign, setting up vaccine banks (12 million doses of rinderpest vaccine were stored in five vaccine banks of PARC */; that time thirty-three African countries participated in the PARC vaccine bank system), investigation of rinderpest epizootiology in wildlife and the value of small ruminants as sentinels. The author suggested to use serosurveillance programme not only for controlling vaccination coverage but mainly for testing cattle and wildlife  populations in the areas outside the vaccinated zones, in order to identify correctly the limits of rinderpest territories and to confirm rinderpest eradication before its official declaration.


*/ *) Example: From Czechoslovakia participated in anti-rinderpest vaccine production at Serum and Vaccine Production Institute in Mogadishu, Somalia, following virologists: Associate Professor Dr. Jaromir Menšik, Dr. Vojtìch Mádr, Dr. Ladislav Dedek, Dr. Jiøí Petlach a Dr Václav Rozkošný (e.g. Dr. Dedek just over 19 months stay was involved in the production of 8.5 million doses of vaccine against rinderpest).


The author also exploited the opportunity when attending the 8th Conference of  the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, Arusha, Tanzania, 12-18 January 1989 to discuss the anti-rinderpest issue with several directors of veterinary services to identify the needs for FAO assistance to relevant member countries. The problems of rinderpest control in Central and West Africa was dealt with Dr. Amadu Samba Sidibe (Director of Veterinary Services, Mali), the PARC Programme Coordinator in this part of Africa. Very important basis for identification of problems’ priorities and their solutions  was a special “OAU/IBAR Report on actual Status of the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign” presented during the conference.


The author, as the Chief. AGAH, was supervising also a special regional FAO/UNDP Programme against rinderpest in the Middle and Near East  called "The West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC)”- Project RAB/86/024. Its headquarters, including international reference centre for laboratory rinderpest diagnosis, was established with the participation of the author and of the first Project Manager (Dr. S. C. Mathur - India's former Chief Veterinary Officer, rinderpest specialist) in Baghdad, Iraq during their 17-27 June 1989 mission. After assessing the situation in rinderpest occurrence in the region it was decided to start action to introduce the ELISA test in rinderpest laboratory diagnosis, to establish vaccine production laboratories in the region, to provide member countries with useful practical documents in Arabic for rinderpest campaign (model of contingency plans, extension and information materials, model for project idea to attract donors, etc.), etc. It was recommended to contact and visit PARC Headquarters in Nairobi for coordination of both programmes against rinderpest and for exchange of experience and to contact Joint  FAO/IAEA Division regarding the rinderpest ELISA kits and training.


Very important programme of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) in this region was «Middle and Near East Regional Animal Production and Health Project (MINEADEP)» given the priority task to support AGAH rinderpest eradication programme in this region (WARECC).  The author met several times Dr. F.I El-Dessouky (Egypt), its Acting Project Director to solve different animal health problems in this region, mainly related with the WARECC. In this context the author attended MINEADEP Executive Board Meetings in Yemen (11-13 February 1989) and Turkey (14-24 February 1990) providing opportunity to discuss AGAH/FAO anti-rinderpest eradication programme with the delegates - Directors of Livestock Departments and Chief Veterinary Officers of the MINEADEP and the WARECC member countries. Another author’s opportunity for discussing WARECC programme  support was the Pan-Arab Veterinary Congress in Cairo, Egypt, 17-22 March 1989 and  20th FAO Regional Conference for the  Near East, Tunisia, Tunis, 13-15 March 1990.


In South Asia it was established in 1986 a similar regional anti-rinderpest programme of the FAO entitled "South Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC)" sponsored mainly by the European Economic Community. The author was solving the problems of rinderpest in Asia with the representatives of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAPA) based in Bangkok, Thailand. During authors' first mission  (25 February – 6 March 1983) with Dr B. K. Soni,  Regional Animal Production and Health Officer and during his second mission (16-23 April 1991) with Mr. H. Tsuchia, Deputy Regional Representative and Dr. M. Sasaki, Regional Animal Production and Health Officer. It was discussed also the anti-rinderpest programme involvement of the “FAO Regional Commission for Animal Production and Heath for Asia and the Pacific (APHCA”) composed by the representatives of member country governments of this region. A particular discussion on SAREC the author held also with Dr A. K. Chatterjee, Indian Chief veterinary Officer and leading officer of the APHCA, during his visit  at Animal Health Service (AGAH), FAO HQs in 1990.


The author exploited also the opportunity to discuss rinderpest eradication problems with some Chief Veterinary Officers: e.g. during the Fifty Sevenths OIE General Session, Paris, 21-27 May 1989 or FAO Expert Consultation on Strengthening Animal Health Services in Developing Countries, Rome, 15-19 October 1990 +/.


+/ For example: Dr Qiu Zhenyuan, Deputy Director, Dpt. of Animal Husbandry and Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries, Beijing, China; Dr J.M. Ng’ang’a, Deputy Director, Veterinary Services, Ministry of Livestock Development, Nairobi, Kenya; Dr. K.B. David West, Federal Dpt. Livestock and Pest Control Service, Lagos, Nigeria, etc.),


Author’s duty travels to Africa and Asia


Below is the list of author’s duty travels to countries in Africa and Asia, addressing a variety of animal health problems giving priority  to the issues related to  anti-rinderpest preparedness, protection, control and eradication. Initially this duty travels were dedicated to national rinderpest programmes’ supports and later to the management as the Chief, AGAH fully responsible for regional and  global results. These problems were dealt with competent  decision-making officers representing member country governments (e.g., national directors of animal health services, Chief Veterinary Officers):




Uganda, Kampala, 17-26 September 1978: Chief Veterinary Officer and 9-12 June 1981: Mr. Lwamga, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Animal Resources 

Lesotho, Maseru, 1-3 October 1979: Director of the Livestock Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperatives and Marketing

Swaziland, Mbabane, 3-6 October 1979: Permanent Secretary and Dr A.M. Khoza, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives,

Botswana, Gaborone, 7-14 October 1979:  Dr J. Falconer, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Mozambique, Maputo, 16-22 October 1979:  Dra Lucia Sousa, Chief of Animal Health Section, Department of Animal Production, Ministry of Agriculture

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 12-15 September 1980: Dr Solomon Haile-Mariam and 22 September – 4 October 1987: Dr Yoseph Fikre, both Directors of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Zambia, Lusaka, 1-11 December 1980 and  7-14 March 1981: Dr G.I. Akafekwa, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Kenya, Nairobi, 22-27 September 1981: Dr D. Muriithi and 19-21 January 1989: Dr Wellington K. Ngulo, both  Directors of the Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Niger, Niamey, 21 January-2 February 1983: Mr Salha Haladu, Secretary General and Dr Ibrahim Mazou,  Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Rural Development

Zimbabwe, Harare, 19-26 August 1983: Dr J.W. Tomson, Director, Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Tanzania, Arusha, 15-19 January 1989: Dr I.S. Mpelumbe, Director of Veterinary Services of Tanzania.


Middle and Near East


Saudi Arabia, Riyad, 9-15 March 1979, 20-26 January 1980 and 21-24 February 1981: Dr Mezaini, Director of Animal Production and Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources

Syrie, Damascus, 16-21 September 1980: Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Irak, Bagdad, 6-10 February 1981: Dr Kadouri, Director General, Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Resources, Ministry of Agriculture; 17-27 June 1989: Dr Mushar K. Mohammed, Director General, Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Resources, Ministry of Agriculture,  National Director of MINEADEP and Dr Mohammed About Muhsin, Director, Veterinary Research and Vaccine Production laboratories, National Coordinator, WAREC

Jordan, Amman, 10-13 February 1981: Dr A.G.el Nahar, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Kuwait,  Al Kuwait, 13-16 February 1981: Dr Sultan A. Sultan Al- Khalaf, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Bahrain, Manama, 16-18 February 1981: Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Qatar, Doha, 18-21 February 1981: Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Sudan, Khartoum, 24-27 February 1981: Dr Babiker Ali, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Algeria, Algiers, 2-3 February 1983: Dr Rahal Faud, Director General, National Institute of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Revolution,

Yemen Arab Republic, Sanaa, 11-13 February 1989: Dr Abdoul Shakour Kari, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Egypt, Cairo, 17-22 March 1989: Dr Ahmen Samir Salem, Director of the General Organization of Veterinary Services and his Deputy Prof. Dr Ali Moussa Abdel Moneim; Dr F. I. El Dessouky, Acting Project Director (MINEADEP)

Libya, Tripoli, 15-22 April 1989 and 31 January-2 February1990:  Dr Masoud Abu Sova, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Turkey, Istanbul, 14-24 February 1990: Prof. Dr Elsin Istanbulluoglu, Director General, Protection and Control Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affaires

Tunisia, Tunis, 13-15 March 1990:  Dr Khaled el Hicheri, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture.




Pakistan, Punjab Province. Lahore, 12-16 November 1978: Provincial Chief Veterinary Officer

India, Andra Pradesh State, Madras, 16-23 November 1978: Tamil Nadu Chief Veterinary Officer

Afghanistan, Kabul, 8-17 October 1980: Dr Mohammad Taher Kakar, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Burma. Rangoon, 7-9 March 1983: Dr Kokogyi, Director, Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture

Bangladesh, Dhaka – 9-11 March 1983: Dr M.A. Jalil, Director Livestock Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Thailand, Bangkok, 25 February – 6 March 1983: Dr Tim Bhannasiri, Chief Veterinary Officer and 16-23 April 1991: Dr Tweesackdi, Director General, Department of Livestock Development,Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Dr Laddawalaya Ratananakom, Disease Control Division

North Korea, Pchjongjang, 28 September - 28 October 1983, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

China, Beijing, 3  – 8 October 1983, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

USSR, Moscow, 6 – 7 June 1984: Dr Alexander D. Tretjakov, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

Vietnam, Hanoi, 5-15 December 1984: Dr Nguyen Tien Dung, Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture

Indonesia,  Jakarta, 24-30 March 1991: Dr Soehadji, Director General, Department of Livestock Services, Ministry of Agriculture.




Other author’s missions


The author, after being nominated as the Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO, visited important international organizations to coordinate animal health programmes and to obtain necessary support for FAO field projects, first of all for the programme against the rinderpest. He met during these visits leading decision-making competent officers:


France, Paris, 21-22 November 1988: Dr Luis Blajan, Director General,  International, Office of Epizootics (OIE). This agency provided rinderpest diagnostic standards, information on its occurrence, international code for trade in animals and animal products, conditions for declaring rinderpest-free status and methodological documents (OIE as supportive theoretical organization while the FAO as United Nations agency was responsible for practical execution and results).


Belgium, Brussels, 23-24 November 1988: Dr J. Janssen, Head, Division VI, Directorate General of Agriculture, European Economic Community (EEC). This agency was helping rinderpest eradication programme providing financial support and professional advice.


Austria, Vienna, 25-26 November 1988: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),  Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear and Biotechnology Application in Food and Agriculture - Dr B. Sigurbjorsson, Division Director, Dr J.D Dargie, Head, Animal Production and Health Section and Dr Martyn H. Jeggo, Animal Health Officer. This agency provided modern rinderpest laboratory diagnostic kits, equipment and training.

Discussion and conclusion


The author as the Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO-UN was that time responsible for all UN animal health programmes and field projects and for  their results, giving the priority to rinderpest regional and global eradication.

The extremely complex and demanding eradication (“de facto” */) of rinderpest in the world was first of all the merit of thousands of veterinarians and of supportive staff at all levels headed by the Chief Veterinary Officers of very large number of developing and developed countries *) being supported by several international organizations (e.g. OIE, IAEA, etc.) and financial sponsors. The global eradication of the rinderpest represents the major achievement in the history of veterinary medicine.

*/ The real practical eradication was achieved in 2010 (end of the field operations)  irrespective of any later formal declarations.


The anti-rinderpest global eradication principal role of initiator, promoter, organizer, manager and responsible executor providing concrete assistance to Member States and their groupings played Animal Health Service (AGAH), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), headed by its Chiefs during last five decades: Dr Ervin Eichorn (USA), Dr. Reg Barn Griffiths (Great Britain), Dr. Yoshihiro Ozawa (Japan), short-term acting Dr Paul J. McCosker (Australia), Dr. Vaclav Kouba (Czechoslovakia), Dr. Yves Cheneau (France), Dr. Maurice Joseph Domenech (France) and Dr. Juan Lubroth (USA). Each of them was responsible during a particular time period for the anti-rinderpest programme and its results. Special anti-rinderpest responsibilities had AGAH virologists, e.g. during the 1980s’ Dr Yoshihiro Ozawa and Dr Kris J. Wojciechowski.

This historic achievement of the global eradication of rinderpest ranked as the second in history after the global eradication of smallpox in humans in 1980. Huge damage that rinderpest, the most dangerous killing animal infection, has done in the past will not be repeated. It is a great contribution to the livestock development and production, agriculture economy, international trade in animals and their products and to poverty reduction in developing countries of
Africa and Asia.


The fight against rinderpest being managed globally by the AGAH/FAO in the eighties of the twentieth century was at the beginning marked by a new intensive start against catastrophic  expansion in previous years, particularly in Africa. The anti-rinderpest measures at national levels were elevated to regional levels. During this period there were founded and started regional anti-rinderpest programmes: in Africa (PARC), in the Middle and Near  East (WARECC) and in Asia (SAREC). This set the basis for the foundation and starting a global anti-rinderpest programme leaving at the end of this period  several rinderpest  countries and  rinderpest „pockets“.


During this period (1981-1990) following 23 countries officially reported last cases of rinderpest (= eradication): Lebanon and Syria (1982), Izrael, Central African Republic, Palestian Auton. Territories and Somalia (1983), Chad (1984), Kuwait, Bahrain and Djibuti (1985), Mali, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoir, Niger and Cambodia (1986), Benin, Quatar, Nigeria and Egypt (1987), Burkina Faso and Ghana (1988), Georgia (1989) and Nepal (1990).  During this period in other 19 rinderpest countries +) was achieved significant occurrence reduction creating necessary conditions for future eradication.


+) Mongolia (1992), Iran, Sri Lanka and Uganda (1994), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Oman and Yemen (1995), Iraq, Turkey and United Arab Emirates (1996), Tanzania (1997), Russia and Sudan (1998), Saudi Arabia (1999), Pakistan (2000), Mauritania and Kenya (2003).


Note: During previous two decades last cases were reported as follows: 1961-1970 – Angola (1962), Gambia (1965), Laos (1966), Guinea and Guinea-Bissau (1967) and Bhutan (1969); 1971-1980 – Jordan (1972) and Vietnam (1977).


In the middle of that decade for the first time in history the AGAH made a deep analysis of the global rinderpest occurrence and influencing factors, which made possible to establish the deadline for the final eradication – 2010, i.e. to achieve it during following a quarter century including years’ long monitoring (observation/surveillance) period. This term has proved to be demanding but real. Setting a deadline gave a new impetus for time scheduling at all levels of rinderpest eradication programmes requiring to intensify significantly these projects. Thus was created the basic premise that the recovery process could gradually be accelerated and completed in deadline time. The results of the science and practice of previous stages created  conditions for the next ones forming a chain of interdependence between individual stages following   the previous ones (as a „relay“). Key role played the transfer of previous and new available scientific knowledge and of accumulated experience into the practice at field level representing the decisive principle for the final result of the whole global anti-rinderpest programme. Without active anti-rinderpest actions of previous generations of veterinarians (starting already in 19th century)  the present generation  could not achieve this outstanding result.


All stages of anti-rinderpest actions were important, i.e. not only those of control and proper eradication measures but also those of post-eradication measures confirming rinderpest-free status at local, national, regional and finally at global level to can declare our planet as free of rinderpest virus. All stages were demanding and difficult. All participants of this gigant work merit thanks and appreciation.

Formally the international global rinderpest eradication ended  by the „Adoption of the FAO Declaration on Global Freedom from Rinderpest“ during 37th Conference Plenary Session, Rome, 28 June 2011. The author attended this historical act being invited as former Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO when he was responsible for the implementation and results of this global programme.




1. Dedek, L. and Petlach, J. (2010): Memories of a veterinary practice. (In Czech). Zodiac, Vol. 17: 1929-1930

2. FAO (1996): The World Without rinderpest. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 129, Rome, 173 pp.

3. FAO (1996): Manual on the diagnosis of rinderpest, Rome

4.  FAO (1998): Rinderpest: The challenge ahead. FAO Technical Consultation on the global rinderpest eradication Programme. Rome, 201 pp.

5. FAO (2010): The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme. Status report on progress made to May 2010 in the eradication of rinderpest: highlighting success stories and actions required prior to Global Declaration in 2011 (AGA),Rome, 7pp.


6. Kouba, V. (Editor): FAO / WHO / OIE Animal Health Yearbook, Rome, 1980-1990


7. Kouba, V. (Editor): Guidelines for Strengthening of Animal Health Services in Developing Countries", FAO, 1991, 141 pp.

8. Kouba, V. (2003): Occurrence and eradication of rinderpest in
Africa and Asia. Agricultura Tropica et subtropical, Universitas Agriculturae Praga, Vol.  36, 2003:42-45

9. Kouba, V. (2011): Peste bovina - la primera infeccion animal erradicada en todo el mundo.

Revista Electronica de Veterinaria, Vol.12, No 4, Abril 2011 http://www.veterinaria.org/revistas/redvet/n040411/041104.pdf


10.   Masiga, W.N. (1999): Pan-African surveillance for transboundary animal diseases: The Pan-African Programme for the Control of Epizootics, "Pace". In: Fourth Expert Consultation on the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (Empres) - Livestock Programme, Rome, 128-130.

11.  Obi, T.U., Roeder, P.L., Geering W.A. (1999): Manual on the Preparation of rinderpest contingency Plans, FAO, 34 pp.

12.  OIE (1990-2009): World Animal Health, Paris


13. OIE World Animal Health Information Database – WAHID, 2010, Paris

14.  OIE (2000): Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines, Fourth Edition, Paris, 957 pp.

15. OIE (2009). International Animal Health Code, Paris, 510 pp.

16. Ozawa, Y. (1985): Personal Information

17. Rweyemamu, M. (1996): The global status of rinderpest in the 1996th In: Proceedings of the FAO Technical Consultation on the Global Eradication of rinderpest Programme, Rome, 1941-1948.

18. Wojciechowski, K.J. (1990): Personal Information








Rinderpest Global Eradication Management


Václav Kouba

Department of Animal Science and Food Processing in Tropics and Subtropics, Faculty of Tropical

AgriSciences, Czech University of Life sciences Prague, Czech Republic

Former Chief, Animal Health Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations




The global eradication of rinderpest in 2010 ranked as the second in history after the eradication of smallpox in humans in 1980.Rinderpest (in recent history included also among biological weapons of mass destruction) recurred throughout history causing hundreds of millions of animal deaths. It was recorded in 114 countries of all continents. After the World War II it was still reported from 66 countries in Africa and Asia. After all necessary knowledge about rinderpest virus and its circulation became available, along with excellent vaccine as well as enough experience with anti-rinderpest measures, the global eradication programme was launched in 1986 after a long preparatory period. It was composed of three new regional projects including all national anti-rinderpest programmes. The main method consisted in active search, isolation and stamping out of all outbreaks combined with mass prophylactic vaccinations and followed by years-long risk-based surveillance. The transfer of research results into practical reality required an extraordinary komplex of a highly demanding system of managerial measures. It included analyses of rinderpest occurrence, identification of objectives/deadlines and control methods, planning, ensuring necessary manpower, material and funds, organizing and implementation of coordinating programmes etc. This complex was represented by a managerial pyramid structure of inter-connected components having the basis at rinderpest affected localities and countries and its top at the Animal Health Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as executive agency responsible for technical assistance and global leadership/coordination.


Keywords: anti-epizootic methods, anti-epizootic planning, anti-epizootic organization, biological weapons, disease-free status, disease emergency, epizootiology, managerial pyramid, UN animal health service. financial support.





The rinderpest (caused by a Morbillivirus), the most dangerous animal infection included among biological

weapons of mass destruction, recurred throughout history1  killing hundreds of millions of bovines. It hit Europe hard in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, the disease occurred widely in Africa, Asia and Europe and was responsible for the death of hundreds of millions of cattle, buffaloes, yaks and wild artiodactyls, and for the loss of people’s assets, livelihoods and ability to fend off famines. The rinderpest (known also as “cattle plague”) was historically registered in 114 countries of all continents. After the World War II it was reported from the remaining 66 tropical and subtropical countries in Africa and Asia. An enormous number of specific research results, publications, meetings and conferences recommending rinderpest global eradication resulted up to 1986 only in a theory with good intentions. That year the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a worldwide competent executive agency started the global eradication programme. It was extremely difficult to select from the very rich sources of available information that made possible to transfer them into practice, i.e. into a realistic time-bounded plan and procedures leading to rinderpest global eradication. This required highly complex studies, experiments, epizootiological and economic

analyses, selecting realistic control methods and ensuring necessary inputs such as staff, material, funds and managerial system focused on final global eradication. In June 2011, FAO Conference, the highest body of this United Nations’ agency adopted the “FAO Declaration on Global Freedom from Rinderpest”. The author was present, being invited as former Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO, temporarily responsible for the management of global rinderpest eradication programme. This invitation and the message “FAO highly values your contribution towards the eradication of rinderpest” represent the impulse to write this paper.


1 Bible, The Old Testament: Exodus 9: 1-7 „The plague of the cattle“ (fifth plague of Egypt) - during pharaohs‘ nineteenth dynasty (arend 13th century B. C.).




The documents of FAO Animal Health Service (AGAH), responsible for executing global anti-rinderpest  management and for practical assistance to member countries, represented the main source of data. The protocols from AGAH meetings, international negotiations and expert consultations on rinderpest eradication were of key importance. Other information were found in the yearbooks on animal dinase occurrence in “FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook”2 and in “OIE World Animal Health” as well as in “OIE World Animal Health Information Database”. Several other FAO publications on rinderpest (1996, 1998, 2011) were used as well. The papers published in 2011 by Slingenberg; Chibeu and El-Sawalhy; Kamata; Mathur; Njeumi and Roeder; Sasaki, Rajasekhar, Raja and Hussain; Knop, Miyagishima and Vallat in a special issue of FAO EMPRES Bulletin3 on rinderpest eradication represented important global and continental historical data on anti-rinderpest actions. Among many papers on rinderpest monitoring the contribution of Mariner et al. (2003) was of major importance.

Personal information of AGAH virologists who were in charge of the rinderpest projects, i.e. Y. Ozawa and K. J.

Wojciechowski, represented another source of useful data. Finally, the author’s own experience was used (Kouba, 2003 and 2012). Numeric data for global cost/benefit analysis were unfortunately not available.

History of rinderpest control


The development of rinderpest control had a long history. A more or less passive approach consisted in stamping out of outbreaks and cattle movement control complemented after the World War II by specific vaccination in the areas under specific risk. Stamping out consisted in sanitky slaughtering specifically diseased and suspected animals. Mass vaccination using attenuated tissue culture valine developed in the 1950s by W. Plowright and  D. Ferris had an extraordinary role. About 3 billion doses were administered to animals. Fixing 2010 deadline for global eradication of rinderpest was possible only after having proved that its virus stops circulating among wild animals several years after eradicating individual outbreaks in domestic cattle and buffaloes living in the same zone. Identifying limits of rinderpest territories, all outbreaks and zones under specific risk required extensive clinical and serological monitoring in domestic and wild animal populations of susceptible species. Global eradication of rinderpest represented a komplex of difficult-to-solve problems being multiplied by the fact that every case was different under different conditions requiring different application of anti-rinderpest principles.


Fig. 1. Rinderpest – map of all countries affected (V. Kouba according to OIE WAHID 2009 data)



2 The author as its Editor-in-Chief was regularly evaluating rinderpest occurrence in the world and introduced reports on “Pan African Rinderpest Campaign” and on “West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign”.

3 EMPRES: “Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases”


Not only the rinderpest territorial occurrence and spreading tendency must be considered but also the size and  space distribution populations of susceptible of animal species. Influencing factors such as ecological, economic, social and political conditions as well as public, government and support of donors must be considered as well. The degrese of demandingness was multiplied by the fact that the timebound programme required to reach the eradication prior to the deadline. This was much more difficult than the previous practice without a fixed global final term. A complex systém approach when applying action-oriented epizootiological principles was of extraordinary importance. International management of global eradication programme had different work/resources/time consuming phases.


Global preparatory phase consisted in: rinderpest aetiology, immunology and epizootiology research; field investigations to identify all outbreaks and threatened territories; identification of control/eradication strategy and methodology (including laboratory diagnosis procedures); identification of specific objectives; high quality valine development, production and control; creation of neceséry conditions (manpower, material, funds, transport; information and logistics systems; public, legislation and political support, etc.); strengthening animal health services; education and training; establishing international rinderpest reference laboratories4 for confirmatory diagnosis; attraction of donors; clearance procedures, etc.. Global pilot phase. Initially the eradication efforts took place largely on an individual country basis facilitating to accumulate national experience with the tested methods. Mass vaccination proved its effectiveness. Major campaigns in Asia throughout the 1960s brought the disease largely under control. At the beginning of the 1960s, a programme called JP 15 (Joint Campaign against Rinderpest in Africa) attempted to vaccinate all cattle in participating countries. This programme supported by German government brought significant improvements in the years 1962-1976. However, its premature termination (due to economic reasons) led to a flare and spread of this infection from the residual “pockets” in Sudan to the north up to Egypt, to the west up to Senegal, to the east up to Djibouti and to the south up to Zambia killing millions of cattle, as well as wildlife. In Asia the rinderpest spread to the west up to Turkey.


Global attack phase, combined with protective measures including mass vaccination, internationally organized as “FAO g l o b a l rinderpest eradication programme” was launched in 1986. The AGAH, under the leadership of Dr Y. Ozawa, after rinderpest global situation analysis, could finally set a realistic deadline for its eradication – “Horizon 2010” thus creating an attractive motivation for all participants and donors. Time-bound strategy gave a new important impulse to global rinderpest eradication campaign at all levels resulting in the intensification of control/ eradication measures aiming at the final common objective. At that time the AGAH created, merged and technically backstopped three new regional projects: “The Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC)”– (FAO Project GCP/ RAF/218/JPN), “The South Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC) - (FAO Project RAS/86/023) and “The West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC)” - (FAO Project RAB/86/024) including all existing and new national anti-rinderpest programmes in the affected countries. The campaign required to interlink local, national, regional and global programmes thus creating a worldwide management structure “pyramid” with its top at FAO HQs in Rome.



Fig. 2. Rinderpest – map of global eradication programme in 1986 (FAO archive)




4 Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, United Kingdom; Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Muguga Laboratory, Nairobi; Institute sénégalais agricole, Laboratoire national de l´élevage et de recherches vétérinaire, Dakar and Plum Island Animal Disease Center, New York, USA.


In 1994, the final eradication phase started with the goal to terminate the eradication programmes in remaining

rinderpest countries. The FAO Council approved the establishment of EMPRES within the FAO Animal Health

Service. Under EMPRES a special unit was established - GREP (“Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme”)   a programme aimed at the evidence-based global eradication of rinderpest virus by 2010. A scientific  erification that the virus was no longer circulating in the wild was necessary. The foundation of the GREP represented a new very important impulse for the programme. The last confirmed case of rinderpest was registered in a wild buffalo population in Kenya in 2001. Anti-rinderpest actions managed by the FAO Animal Health Service consisted in global initiative, organization, international coordination, gaining necessary external support and in providing technical assistance to member countries according to their requirements. This assistance usually consisted in: identification of rinderpest situation; elaboration of anti-rinderpest strategy and contingency plans; realization of specific protective, control/eradication measures and risk-based surveillance (e.g., serological monitoring of rinderpest situation, confirmation of rinderpest-free status and post-eradication control); rinderpest diagnosis (establishing and strengthening diagnostic laboratories including equipment and experts); provision of methodologies (including manuals); production and control of anti-rinderpest vaccines5, establishing cold chain; strengthening veterinary services; providing means of transportation and communication; capacity building; education and training, legislation etc. FAO anti-rinderpest projects budget structure usually consisted of the following components: personál (professional, nonprofessional and administrative support), travel, subcontracts (specifying types of goods and services), training (fellowship, study tours, group training, inservice training, etc.), equipment (expendable, nonexpendable), premises and miscellaneous (operation and maintenance, cost of equipment, reporting costs etc.).


5 PANVAC – African Union Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Center in Debre Zeit (Ethiopia) and Dakar (Senegal).  Introduction of thermo-stable vaccine significantly reduced dependency on a cold chain system.


The programme required close collaboration with different global partners such as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was helping through “Joint FAO/IAEA Division on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture” with rinderpest diagnosis using Enzyme- Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) and Polymerase

Chain Reaction (PCR) techniques. The most important was International Office of Epizootics (OIE) providing

information on rinderpest occurrence, standards for diagnostic tests and vaccines, guidelines for anti-rinderpest

measures, guidelines for rinderpest virus sequestration, pathway and basic information for declaration of  individual countries as well as of the whole world as rinderpest-free. From the regional partners at least African Union’s Inter- African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) managing PARC programme (1986-1998)  succeeded by the Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE) must be mentioned. Among important participating partners belonged also French Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD). Close collaboration with rinderpest country governments represented a key prerequisite.


FAO rinderpest global eradication field projects were supported from different financial sources: FAO  Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCP) were funded from the own Regular Programme budget of the  organization. Among other financial sources belonged United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Trust Funds (TF), FAO/Government Cooperative Programme (GCP), Unilateral Trust Funds (UTF) etc. Financial support was obtained also from other donors such as several governments (Japan, United Kingdom, France, USA, Italy, Canada, Germany, Ireland, etc.), numerous donor agencies such as European Development Fund (EDF), Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA) etc. and from several international banks. It should be stressed that without such massive financial support the eradication programme would not have been possible to carry out.


The rinderpest global eradication programme was implemented or actively supported by: governments of all affected and threatened countries; hundreds of participating institutions: for national and international research, for rinderpest vaccine production and control, for laboratory diagnostics, etc. The people of many generations

behind the eradication included: incalculable numbers of veterinarians, animal health assistants and laboratory

technicians of public and private animal health services; veterinary researchers; teachers and students of  veterinary schools; livestock specialists, cattle/buffalo farmers and pastoralists; community, regional and national autority officers and countless other collaborators. They all deserve respect and recognition because without their hard work and enthusiasm it would not have been possible to achieve the global eradication.


FAO Animal Health Service (supported by FAO leadership and relevant FAO HQs units such as the Operation Division) having the responsibility for the management of global rinderpest eradication programme played a principal role as initiator, promoter, organizer, coordinator and executor of concrete assistance to rinderpest affected and threatened member countries. At that time all its Chiefs were responsible for the anti-rinderpest global programme implementation and results during a particular period. Special responsibilities within the FAO Animal Health Service had the Infection Diseases Group and from 1994 the EMPRES group with a special GREP unit and thein rinderpest virologists. The Chiefs, Animal Health Service, FAO were also supervising and coordinating FAO Regional Animal Health Officers responsible for anti-rinderpest programme within the given regions.




Global issues

The first major global impulse was given in 1985(remaining 39 rinderpest countries) by identifying the final

deadline - 2010. In 1986, the proper g l o b a l rinderpest eradication programme was started merging three new

regional programmes. The second major impulse was given in 1994 (remaining 19 rinderpest countries) by the

establishment of the EMPRES/GREP unit. The numbers of countries reporting their last case of rinderpest in individual decades were as follows: during the 1940s – 5, during the 1950s – 5, during the 1960s – 7, during the 1970s – 3, during the 1980s – 26, during the 1990s – 18 and during the 2010s – 2 and thus finalizing successfully the global eradication process. Somali ecosystem in Kenya was the last place where rinderpest had been  diagnosed in 2001. The final vaccinations were stopped in 2006 allowing the investigators to disclose eventual reservoirs of rinderpest virus. The last targeting surveillance operations took place in 2009, failing to find any evidence of the disease. FAO halted all field anti-rinderpest operations in October 2010. Substantial disease search and widespread serological surveillance throughout Asia, Africa and Middle East had been conducted without any evidence of virus circulation. This information was based on detailed evidence provided by all countries and territories and had been verified by the OIE recognizing the world as free from rinderpest virus circulation.


The FAO noting the conclusions reached by the “Joint FAO/OIE Committee on Global Rinderpest Eradication 6 adopted during the 79th General Session, 2011 a resolution declaring officially that the world had achieved freedom from rinderpest in its natural setting: “Declaration on Global Freedom from Rinderpest and on the Implementation of Follow-up Measures to Maintain World Freedom from Rinderpest“. The Declaration called upon FAO to assume its responsibility for undertaking the measures to maintain worldwide freedom from rinderpest. The Declaration required developing a post-eradication strategy so as to consolidate success of eradication taking into account the fact that the presence


6 The “Joint FAO/OIE Committee on Global Rinderpest Eradication”, under the chairmanship of Dr W. Taylor, based its conclusions on the reports of the meetings of the “OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases “ and on the reports of the meetings of the “OIE ad hoc Group on Evaluation of Rinderpest Disease Status of Members”. of virulent or attenuated rinderpest virus in laboratories constitutes a potential threat to the global rinderpest-free status. It urged all member countries to maintain appropriate surveillance system for rinderpest, to destroy rinderpest virus-containing materials, to ensure that rinderpest occupies an appropriate place in veterinary education and training programmes and to support all technical measures required to minimize the risk of rinderpest re-emergence.





This extraordinary achievement, based on excedent research results, would not have been possible without the

joint efforts and strong commitments of FAO, governments, relevant organizations in Africa, Asia and Europe, and  without the continuous support of many international agencies and donors. The global anti-rinderpest campaign structure involved incalculable number of participating persons and institutions. The rinderpest global eradication was estimated to have had a cost of about 5 billion USD. The largest and longest international global programme against the most dangerous animal disease converted successfully the research findings into worldwide practice and a historical result. Rinderpest is the first animal infection eradicated globally and not only in susceptible species of domestic but also in wild animals. This achievement in all the world has proved for the first time the feasibility of global eradication of selected animal infections when theoretical methodology is transferred into reality due to adequate management system under technical leadership of a global competent executing inter-governmental agency. Huge damage that rinderpest has done in the past will not be repeated. It is a great contribution to global livestock economy development, to international trade and to poverty reduction.



FAO (1996): The World without Rinderpest. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 129, Rome, 173 p.

FAO (1998): Rinderpest: The challenge ahead. FAO Technical Consultation on the global rinderpest eradication

Programme. Rome, 201 p.

FAO (2011): Freedom from the World No. 1 Cattle Plague –

Rinderpest. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38, 71 p.

FAO (2011): Declaration on Global Freedom from Rinderpest and on the Implementation of Follow-up Measures to Maintain World Freedom from Rinderpest. Adopted by the 79th FAO General Session, Rome.

Chibeu D.M., El-Sawalhy A. (2011): Rinderpest eradication in Africa. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 21-25.

Kamata A. (2011): Rinderpest in East and Southeast Asia. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 41-49.

Knop l., Miyagishima K., Vallat B. (2011): OIE’s contributions to the eradication of rinderpest. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 18-20.

Kouba V. (2003): Occurrence and eradication of rinderpest in Africa and Asia. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica 36: 42-45.

Kouba V. (2012): Rinderpest global eradication. Available at http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/rinderpest.ppt. (accessed 15 September 2012).

Lubroth J. (2011): Rinderpest’s final days. FAO Document. Available at http://www.fao.org/ag/grep.html (accessed 20 June 2011).

Mathur S.C. (2011): The West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 26-31.

Mariner J.C., Jeggo M.H., van’t Klooster G.G.M, Geiger R. Roeder P.L. (2003): Rinderpest surveillance performance monitoring using quantifiable indicators, Revue Scientifique and Technique de l’OIE, Vol. 22, No 3:. 837-847.

Njeumi F., Roeder P.L (2011): The Role of FAO in the eradication of rinderpest. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 5-11.

Plowright W., Ferris R.D. (1962): Studies with rinderpest virus in tissue culture. The use of attenuated culture virus as vaccine for cattle. Research inVeterinary Sciences 3: 172-182.

Sasaki M., Rajasekhar M., Raja R.H., Hussain M. (2011): Global rinderpest eradication and the South Asia

Rinderpest Eradication Campaign. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 32-40.

Slingenbergh J. (2011): The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme as the spearhead for EMPRES. FAO EMPRES Bulletin No. 38: 2-4.




Table 1:


 Examples of anti-rinderpest activities of Animal Health Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations




Technical support to Pan-African Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (PARC)

PARC: Communication and Training (OAU Countries)

PARC: Training on National Communication Officers (OAU Countries)

Veterinary Vaccine Production and Quality Control in Africa

Technical Support for National Mass Communication Activities (PARC)

Improvement of Vaccine Production in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa

Communication Coordination (PARC)

Program regional de serosurveillance de la peste bovine

Western Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC)

South Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC)




1981: Joint FAO/OAU/OIE Meeting on Rinderpest Eradication in Africa

1983: Second Informal Meeting on the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign

1984: Expert Consultation on Rinderpest Diagnosis and Vaccine Production/Control

1987: Expert Consultation on Global Strategy for Control and Eradication of Rinderpest

1992: Expert Consultation on Strategy for Global Rinderpest Eradication

1995: Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning for Rinderpest in Africa

1995: Emergency preparedness and contingency planning for Rinderpest and other diseases emergencies

1996: Technical Consultation on the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme “The Word without rinderpest

1998: Technical Consultation on the GREP “The challenge ahead

2000: Verification of rinderpest freedom

2002: Consultation on the Global Rinderpest Eradication “Maintaining momentum and commitment

2007: GREP Ad Hoc Group Workshop

2009: GREP Experts Consultation Meeting “Will rinderpest virus ever die? What lies beyond 2010?

2009: GREP Experts Consultation Meetings “Rinderpest virus and vaccines sequestration

2010: FAO workshop on post-eradication activities with participation of OIE

2010: GREP Symposium and High Level Meeting “Lessons learnt from the eradication of rinderpest for controlling other transboundary animal diseases




1967: Diagnostic of Rinderpest (author: D.R. Scott)

1985: A Practical Guide for Rinderpest Campaign Field Personnel

1986: Manual on the Diagnosis of Rinderpest

1994: Quality Control Testing of Rinderpest Cell Culture Vaccine





Table 2




1962 Angola



1965 Gambia

1966 Laos

1967 Guinea, Guinea Bissau


1969 Bhutan



1972 Jordan





1977 Vietnam





1982 Lebanon, Syria

1983 Somalia, Central African Republic, Izrael, Palestinian Terr.

1984 Chad

1985 Bahrain, Kuwait, Djibuti

1986 Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d`Ivoire, Mali, Niger

1987 Benin. Egypt, Nigeria, Quatar

1988 Burkina Faso, Ghana

1989 Georgia

1990 Nepal


1992 Mongolia


1994 Iran, Uganda, Sri Lanka

1995 Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Oman, Yemen

1996 Iraq, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

1997 Tanzania

1998 Russia, Sudan

1999 Saudi Arabia

2000 Pakistan



2003 Mauritania, Kenya

OIE WAHID International




Table 3:


 List of countries affected by rinderpest and years of reporting last cases (OIE World Animal Health Information Database - WAHID 2010)


Africa: Angola (1962), Benin (1987), Botswana (1899), Burkina Faso (1988), Burundi (1934), Cameroon (1986), Central African Republic (1983), Chad (1984), Congo (1986), Cote d’Ivoire (1986), Djibuti (1985), Egypt (1987), Eritrea (1995), Ethiopia (1995), Gambia (1965), Ghana (1988), Guinea (1967), Guinea Bissau (1967), Kenya (2003), Lesotho (1886), Libya (1966), Mali (1986), Mauritania (2003), Mozambique (1896), Namibia (1907), Niger (1986), Nigeria (1987), Reunion (1902), Ruanda (1932), Senegal (1978), Somalia (1983), South Africa (1904), Sudan (1998), Swaziland (1898), Tanzania (1997), Togo (1986), Uganda (1994), Zambia (1896), Zimbabwe (1898).

Americas: Bermuda, Brazil (1921).

Asia: Afghanistan (1995), Armenia (1928), Azerbaijan (1929), Bahrain (1985), Bangladesh (1958), Bhutan (1969), Brunei (1950), Cambodia (1986), China (1955), Hong-kong (1950), India (1995), Indonesia (1907), Iran (1994), Irak (1996), Izrael (1983), Kuwait (1985), Japan (1924), Jordan (1972), Kazakhstan (1928), Korea (1931), Korea-DPR (1948), Laos (1966), Lebanon (1982), Malayasia (1924), Mongolia (1992), Myanmar (1957), Nepal (1990), Oman (1995), Pakistan (2000), Palestian Auton. Territories (1983), Philippines (1955), Qatar (1987), Saudi Arabia (1999), Singapur (1930), Sri Lanka (1994), Syria (1982), Taipei China (1949), Thailand (1959), Turkey (1996), United Arab Emirates (1995), Vietnam (1977), Yemen (1995). Europe: Albania (1924), Austria (1881), Belgium (1920), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1883), Bulgaria (1913), Croatia (1883), Czech Republic (1881), Denmark (1782), Finland (1877), France (1870), Georgia (1989), Germany (1870), Greece (1926), Hungary (1881), Ireland (1866), Italy (1949), Latvia (1921), Netherlands (1869), Poland (1921), Romania (1886), Russia (1998), Serbia and Montenegro (1883), Slovakia (1881), Slovenia (1883), Sweden (1700), Switzerland (1871), U.K./Great Britain (1877), U.K. Northern Ireland (1900).

Oceania: Australia (1923).



Fig. 3: Countries officially reporting last cases of rinderpest Animal Health Database, 2010

(1963-2003). Source: OIE WAHID data 2009, graph made by V. Kouba.



Received for publication October 8, 2012