For millions of smallholder farmers around the world, small ruminants – sheep and goats – provide a vital source of food, income and security. Threatening this, however, is a devastating and highly contagious livestock disease known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), or sheep and goat plague. As one of the world’s most damaging livestock diseases, PPR spreads rapidly through herds, killing anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of those infected and placing the livelihoods of farmers and their households at significant risk.
First identified in Côte d'Ivoire nearly 80 years ago, PPR continues to threaten an estimated 2 billion heads — 80 percent — of the global sheep and goat population in more than 70 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. While concerted global efforts to eradicate the disease have resulted in the development of vaccines over the decades, reaching farmers’ remote and often inaccessible locations with these life-saving PPR vaccines has been costly and logistically difficult.
Overcoming barriers: Nepal at the forefront in global fight
Overcoming these barriers is the focus of an innovative partnership between Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a USAID-funded program that builds partnerships with the private sector to deliver agricultural innovations to smallholder farmers, and Hester Biosciences Nepal Private Limited (Hester Biosciences). Through this partnership, Hester Biosciences is now the first private sector firm to produce a thermostable version of the PPR vaccine, originally developed at Tufts University in the United States, that offers transformative potential to end the spread of the disease in Nepal and beyond.
International Sheep Veterinary Congress
Wednesday, May 24 2017
Harrogate, United Kingdom
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have developed a programme to eradicate PPR and the virus that causes it, by 2030. This program is termed the Peste des Petits Ruminants Global Eradication Programme or the PPR-GEP. This workshop was organized by the International Goat Association (IGA) to present multiple perspectives on the benefits and challenges of this massive undertaking. IGA has been the advocate of goat research, production and development to benefit humanity since 1982, and is a member of the PPR-GEP Advisory Council.
Summary from the Presenters
The participants congratulate FAO, OIE and other partners for the 2030 vision of global freedom of Peste des Petits Ruminants. Eradication will improve small ruminant production that can contribute to gender empowerment, food security, poverty alleviation and resilience as well as biodiversity conservation, if done correctly. We request each ISVC participant to advocate for this vision to donors and decision makers to financially support the implementation of PPR Global Eradication Programme.
PPR is the third viral disease targeted for global eradiation, after smallpox in humans, and rinderpest in cattle. The selection of PPR indicates the importance of small ruminants for human livelihoods and nutrition, and environmental impacts, and presents an opportunity for us to expand public knowledge and attitudes about sheep and goats for the future.
IGA President Beth Miller and Board Member Paula Menzies attended the launch of the the Peste des petits ruminants Global Research and Expertise Network (PPR-GREN) in Vienna Austria from 17-19 April 2018. The PPR-GREN network was established and endorsed in 2015 to support a global strategy to eradicate PPR. Dr. Menzies also serves as co-chair of the PPR GEP Advisory Board.
Peste des petits ruminants, (PPR) was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942 but has continued to spread at an alarming rate affecting more than 70 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East. Over 80 percent of the world’s sheep and goat populations are at risk causing annual economic losses of up to USD 2.1 billion (OIE).
The PPR-GREN network, spearheaded by FAO and OIE, has been tasked with promoting and initiating an integrated, comprehensive research and expertise network that builds on synergies to eliminate the threat of PPR. The elimination of this disease will improve the livelihoods, food security, and health of people nationally, regionally and globally.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.