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Rinderpest eradicated; what next?
  1. John Anderson, formerly Head of the FAO World Reference Laboratory for Rinderpest1,
  2. Michael Baron, Head of Paramyxovirus and Bunyavirus Group2,
  3. Angus Cameron, Director3,
  4. Richard Kock, formerly adviser to the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign, Professor of Wildlife Health and Emerging Diseases4,
  5. Bryony Jones, formerly Rinderpest Eradication Project Manager for Southern Sudan5,
  6. Dirk Pfeiffer, Professor of Epidemiology and Head of the Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group6,
  7. Jeffrey Mariner, formerly advisor for special action areas to the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign7,
  8. Declan McKeever, Professor of Immunoparasitology and Head of the Pathology and Infectious Diseases Department6,
  9. Chris Oura, Head of the FAO, OIE and UK National Reference Laboratory for Rinderpest and PPRV2,
  10. Peter Roeder, formerly secretary of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme8,
  11. Paul Rossiter, formerly adviser to the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign9 and
  12. William Taylor, formerly adviser to the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign and the National Programme for Rinderpest Eradication10
  1. Heath Lodge, Lucas Green Road, West End, Woking, Surrey GU24 9LD, UK
  2. Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, Ash Road, Pirbright, Surrey GU24 0NF, UK
  3. AusVet Animal Health Services, PO Box 1278, 1a/109 Herries Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
  4. Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group
  5. Vétérinaires sans Frontières Belgium, Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group
  6. Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
  7. International Livestock Research Institute, 30709 Naivasha Road, Nairobi, Kenya
  8. FAO, Taurus Animal Health, Hollyhedge Cottage, Spats Lane, Headley Down, Hampshire GU35 8SY, UK e-mail:
  9. St Michaels House, Poughill, Crediton, Devon EX17 4LA, UK
  10. India; Chair, Joint FAO/OIE Committee on Global Rinderpest Eradication, 16 Mill Road, Angmering, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN16 4HT, UK

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THIS week saw a landmark in the history of the veterinary profession and, more specifically, its management of disease threats to food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced on June 28, 2011 that its member countries had passed a resolution declaring rinderpest to have been eradicated globally, building on an announcement in May that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) at its General Session had passed a resolution to the effect that all countries in the world had been formally accredited as free from rinderpest.

These events mark the fact that the virus is no longer present in any of its natural hosts on this planet. No longer is it a cause of disease or a constraint to international trade. What is not generally appreciated is that the eradication of rinderpest has yielded benefits that surpass virtually every other development programme in agriculture, and will continue to do so into the future. For example, a preliminary study in Chad shows that over the period 1963 to 2002, each dollar spent on rinderpest eradication led to a benefit …

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