At UN-backed conference, countries pledge to globally eradicate deadly livestock-killing disease

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept 8 (APP):Over 45 countries Friday pledged to eradicate by 2030 a highly contagious and devastating disease, known as Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), which is responsible for the death of millions of small farm animals, at cost of more than $2 billion each year.
The pledge was made at a conference organized jointly by the U.N. Food And Agriculture Organizations (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and hosted by the European Commission in Brussels.
Controlling and eventually eradicating the Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) disease which has nearly 90 per cent fatality rate among the animals it infects will also strengthen food security and nutrition, improve resilience of pastoralists, as well as contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, FAO said.
Small ruminants are the primary livestock resource of about 300 million poor rural families in developing and emerging countries Eradicating PPR is fundamental for building a safer and more sustainable world, highlighted the agencys Director-General, Jos Graziano da Silva.
The conference also called on the international development community to contribute to the PPR Global Eradication Programme to bridge its $340 million funding gap.
In spite of the very high fatality rate, PPR is easily preventable with inexpensive vaccines that can be administered at low cost.The financial resources to eradicate PPR are not an expense, but an important investment that will result in future economic and social gains, Graziano da Silva added.
Since its initial identification in Ivory Coast in 1942, PPR also known as the goat plague has spread to over 70 countries in Africa, Middle East, and Asia and has reached new areas in recent years.
According to the OIE, PPR is caused by the morbillivirus in the family of paramyxoviruses, that is related to rinderpest, measles and canine distemper. The virus is not known to affect humans.
In December 2016 the first reported outbreak in sheep and goats with spill-over of the disease to a wild antelope species was observed in Mongolia, and later in June 2018, it reached the European Union, with a first-ever case reported in Bulgaria.