Saturday, June 4, 2011

Interesting new from the OIE

So the World Organization for Animal Health (or the OIE) announced about a week ago that Rinderpest has been officially eradicated, since there's been no evidence of it since the last outbreak in 2001. This makes it the second disease (behind smallpox) to have been sucessfully driven from the "wild," and theoretically, it should now only exist in laboratories.

I'm rather curious to see how this will play out. Smallpox was targeted for eradication because it was such a bad disease, and because it only infected people. Rinderpest was a terrible disease for cattle, but can also infect wildlife. Since it can transfer between species, and the vaccination efforts centered around cattle, I wonder if it's truely eradicated, or if there is a natural host hiding somewhere still harboring the disease. Or worse, if Rinderpest (like smallpox) is still being produced by countries seeking to use it as a bioweapon.

Here's hoping it is truely gone for good.