Rinderpest which is also known as cattle plague 15 an acute sometimes subacute. febrile. highly contagious disease contracted by ruminants, particularly cattle.
The disease has been known in Europe and Asia TOT several centuries and further spread to other parts of the world following wars and as a result of international trade in cattle. According to early writers, the disease was introduced into Africa through the eastern coast towards the latter part in the last century. It then spread rapidly to all corners of the continent. Rinderpest has been, and still is, the most dangerous disease of cattle in Ethiopia since its! introduction to Africa at the turn of the century. In the past, the disease was considered to have accounted for losses of 500,000 head of cattle each year but I was mostly controlled by regular vaccination campaign. Vaccination started in 1949 and it improved with the introduction of new types of vaccine.
A previous vaccination campaign to eradicate rinderpest from sub-saharan countries, the JP 15. was implemented between 1962 -and 1976. The implementation of this project led to the disappearance of the disease from most of the regions.
Following massive Vaccination in the majority of the participating countries, the incidence of rinderpest was suppressed until 1979. when a resurgence! of the virus appeared in a number of countries. The present strategy which is carried on under PARC in which 34 African countries including Ethiopia participate has a primary objective to eradicate rinderpest from the African continent. Since its inception in 1986, PARC has made much progress in terms of achieving the targets set down in its strategy and work plan. In Ethiopia, the campaign started operation in April 1986 and since then, the country has managed to vaccinate over 29 million head of cattle and as a result the number of rinderpest outbreaks which were rampant prior to PARC has decreased.
In light of the large cattle population of Ethiopia and the increasing pressure for arable land and grazing areas, further attention to livestock nutrition is also justified.