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Rinderpest virus

Rinderpest (also cattle plague or steppe murrain) was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic buffalo, and many other species of even-toed ungulates, including buffaloes, large antelope, deer, giraffes, wildebeests, and warthogs.[2] The disease was characterized by fever, oral erosions, diarrhea, lymphoid necrosis, and high mortality. Death rates during outbreaks were usually extremely high, approaching 100% in immunologically naïve populations.[3] Rinderpest was mainly transmitted by direct contact and by drinking contaminated water, although it could also be transmitted by air.[4] After a global eradication campaign since the mid-20th century, the last confirmed case of rinderpest was diagnosed in 2001.[5]

On 14 October 2010, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that field activities in the decades-long, worldwide campaign to eradicate the disease were ending, paving the way for a formal declaration in June 2011 of the global eradication of rinderpest.[6] On 25 May 2011, the World Organisation for Animal Health announced the free status of the last eight countries not yet recognized (a total of 198 countries were now free of the disease), officially declaring the eradication of the disease.[7] In June 2011, the United Nations FAO confirmed the disease was eradicated, making rinderpest only the second disease in history to be fully wiped out (outside laboratory stocks), following smallpox.[8] In June 2019 the UK destroyed its stocks of rinderpest virus, held at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, which were most of the world's retained samples. This followed the compilation of a digital record of the virus's genetic code, thereby obviating the need to store samples as a protective resource in case the virus re-emerges. Researchers at Pirbright and the United Nations expressed a hope that the other samples in laboratories around the world will also be destroyed, totally eradicating the virus from the Earth.[9]

Rinderpest is believed to have originated in Asia, later spreading through the transport of cattle.[10] The term Rinderpest is a German word meaning "cattle-plague".[2][10] The rinderpest virus (RPV) was closely related to the measles and canine distemper viruses.[11] The measles virus possibly emerged from rinderpest as a zoonotic disease around 600 BC, a period that coincides with the rise of large human settlements.[12][13]

Virus

Rinderpest virus (RPV), a me

Rinderpest (also cattle plague or steppe murrain) was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic buffalo, and many other species of even-toed ungulates, including buffaloes, large antelope, deer, giraffes, wildebeests, and warthogs.[2] The disease was characterized by fever, oral erosions, diarrhea, lymphoid necrosis, and high mortality. Death rates during outbreaks were usually extremely high, approaching 100% in immunologically naïve populations.[3] Rinderpest was mainly transmitted by direct contact and by drinking contaminated water, although it could also be transmitted by air.[4] After a global eradication campaign since the mid-20th century, the last confirmed case of rinderpest was diagnosed in 2001.[5]

On 14 October 2010, the On 14 October 2010, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that field activities in the decades-long, worldwide campaign to eradicate the disease were ending, paving the way for a formal declaration in June 2011 of the global eradication of rinderpest.[6] On 25 May 2011, the World Organisation for Animal Health announced the free status of the last eight countries not yet recognized (a total of 198 countries were now free of the disease), officially declaring the eradication of the disease.[7] In June 2011, the United Nations FAO confirmed the disease was eradicated, making rinderpest only the second disease in history to be fully wiped out (outside laboratory stocks), following smallpox.[8] In June 2019 the UK destroyed its stocks of rinderpest virus, held at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, which were most of the world's retained samples. This followed the compilation of a digital record of the virus's genetic code, thereby obviating the need to store samples as a protective resource in case the virus re-emerges. Researchers at Pirbright and the United Nations expressed a hope that the other samples in laboratories around the world will also be destroyed, totally eradicating the virus from the Earth.[9]

Rinderpest is believed to have originated in Asia, later spreading through the transport of cattle.[10] The term Rinderpest is a German word meaning "cattle-plague".[2][10] The rinderpest virus (RPV) was closely related to the measles and canine distemper viruses.[11] The measles virus possibly emerged from rinderpest as a zoonotic disease around 600 BC, a period that coincides with the rise of large human settlements.[12][13]

Rinderpest virus (RPV), a member of the genus Morbillivirus, is closely related to the measles and canine distemper viruses.[11] Like other members of the Paramyxoviridae family, it produces enveloped virions, and is a negative-sense single-stranded RNA virus. The virus was particularly fragile and is quickly inactivated by heat, desiccation and sunlight.[14]

Measles virus evolved from the then-widespread rinderpest virus most probably between the 11th and 12th centuries.[13] The earliest likely origin is during the seventh century; some linguistic evidence exists for this earlier origin.[15][16]

Disease and symptoms

A cow with rinderpest in the "milk fever" position, 1982

Death rates during outbreaks were usually extremely high, approaching 100% in immunologically naïve populations.[3] The disease was mainly spread by direct contact and by drinking contaminated water, although it could also be transmitted by air.[4]

Initial symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and nasal and eye discharges. Subsequently, irregular erosions appear in the mouth, the lining of the nose, and the genital tract.[3] Acute diarrhea, preceded by constipation, is also a common feature.[4] Most animals die six to twelve days after the onset of these clinical signs.[3]

History and epizootics

Measles virus evolved from the then-widespread rinderpest virus most probably between the 11th and 12th centuries.[13] The earliest likely origin is during the seventh century; some linguistic evidence exists for this earlier origin.[15][16]

Death rates during outbreaks were usually extremely high, approaching 100% in immunologically naïve populations.[3] The disease was mainly spread by direct contact and by drinking contaminated water, although it could also be transmitted by air.[4]

Initial symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and nasal and eye discharges. Subsequently, irregular erosions appear in the mouth, the lining of the nose, and the genital tract.[3] Acute diarrhea, preceded by constipation, is also a common feature.[4] Most animals die six to twelve days after the onset of these clinical signs.[3]

History and epizootics

[3] Acute diarrhea, preceded by constipation, is also a common feature.[4] Most animals die six to twelve days after the onset of these clinical signs.[3]

The disease is believed to have originated in Asia, later spreading through the transport of cattle.[10] Other cattle epizootics are noted in ancient times: a cattle plague is thought to be one of the 10 plagues of Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible. By around 3,000 BC, a cattle plague had reached Egypt, and rinderpest later spread throughout the remainder of Africa, following European colonization.[10]

In the 4th century, Roman writer Severus Sanctus Endelechius described rinderpest in his book, On the Deaths of Cattle.[17]

18th century

Cattle plagues recurred throughout history, often accompanying wars and military campaigns. They hit Europe especially hard in the 18th century, with three long panzootics, which although varying in intensity and duration from region to region, took place in the periods of 1709–1720, 1742–1760, and 1768–1786.[18]

Inoculation

In the early 18th century, the disease was seen as similar to smallpox, due to its analogous symptoms. The personal physician of the pope, Giovanni

In the 4th century, Roman writer Severus Sanctus Endelechius described rinderpest in his book, On the Deaths of Cattle.[17]

Cattle plagues recurred throughout history, often accompanying wars and military campaigns. They hit Europe especially hard in the 18th century, with three long panzootics, which although varying in intensity and duration from region to region, took place in the periods of 1709–1720, 1742–1760, and 1768–1786.[18]

Inoculation

In the early 18th century, the disease was seen as similar to smallpox, due to its analogous symptoms. The personal physician of the pope, Giovanni Maria Lancisi, recommended the destruction of all infected and exposed animals. This policy was not very popular and used only sparingly in the first part of the century. Later, it was used successfully in several countries, although it was sometimes seen as too costly or drastic, and depended on a strong central authority to be effective (which was notably lacking in the Dutch Republic). Because of these downsides, numerous attempts were made to inoculate animals against the disease. These attempts met with varying success, but the procedure was not widely used and was no longer practiced at all in 19th-century Western or Central Europe. Rinderpest was an immense problem, but inoculation was not a valid solution. In many cases, it caused too many losses. Even more importantly, it perpetuated the circulation of the virus in the cattle population. The pioneers of inoculation did contribute significantly to knowledge about infectious diseases. Their experiments confirmed the concepts of those who saw infectious diseases as caused by specific agents, and were the first to recognize maternally derived immunity.[11]

Early English experimentation