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Have we really seen the back of Rinderpest?

The OIE, or World Organisation for Animal Health, has sent out an urgent message to all its member countries regarding the Rinderpest virus which affects cattle as well as many other animals. They are asking those who have it stored to consider destroying stocks to prevent the accidental, or even deliberate, release of this highly infectious viral disease that apart from cattle affects domestic buffaloes and some of the even ungulates such as antelopes, giraffes, deer, warthogs and giraffes.

An announcement was made by the OIE in 2011 that Rinderpest had been eradicated, and the FAO, Food and Agricultural Organisation also confirmed this in June of that year. What many didn’t realise, however, that laboratories around the world still hold stocks of the Rinderpest virus, amongst growing concern that some are being kept in inadequate conditions that could lead to this horrendous virus making a very unwelcome reapearance.

A video as has been produced to get the message across about Rinderpest, and is a particularly informative piece that is highly educational for those who may have heard of Rinderpest but actually know little about it. Using words and basic animations, it tells the tale of how the virus was eradicated, the worries that remain about the stocks in labs, a little bit of history about the virus and the horrendous effects it could trigger off should it escape from its confines.

The message is clear; to avoid a potential disaster, the world needs to act now and those countries who have stocks are totally responsible for ensuring it never gets out, and the only permanent way of doing this is to destroy those stocks, which in turn would allow the population of the globe to breathe a sigh of relief that Rinderpest really has been eradicated, never to return.

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