Ovine rinderpest

Ovine rinderpest
Ovine rinderpest
Virus classification
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)
Order: Mononegavirales
Family: Paramyxoviridae
Genus: Morbillivirus
Species: Peste-des-petits-ruminants virus

Ovine rinderpest, also commonly known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), is a contagious disease affecting goats and sheep in Africa (from the Tropic of Cancer to the Equator), the Middle-East and the Indian subcontinent. But since June 2008, the disease invaded Morocco , which indicates a crossing of the natural barrier of the Sahara. It is caused by a species of the Morbillivirus genus of viruses. The disease is highly contagious, and has roughly an 80 percent mortality rate in acute cases.


Disease appellations

Traditionally, the name kata was given to stomatitis and pneumoenteritis of the Nigerian dwarf goat. [1] Peste des Petits Ruminants was the French name of a similar disease of sheep and goats first described in the Ivory Coast in 1942. These diseases have been shown to be very close to each other. [2]

Many authors prefer the name "Ovine Rinderpest". But official agencies such as the FAO and OIE use the French name "Peste des Petits Ruminants", "Peste Des Petits Ruminants", "Peste-des-Petits-Ruminants" or "Peste-des-petits-ruminants", even in English, although the phrase Goat Plague is becoming more widely used in the popular press. The French acronym, PPR, is commonly used among veterinary professionals in East Africa.[citation needed]


Geographical repartition

The disease is present in West Africa, part of Central Africa (Gabon, Central African Republic), East Africa (north of the Equator), Middle East and Indian subcontinent including Nepal and Myanmar.

In North Africa, only Egypt was once hit. But since summer 2008, Morocco is suffering a generalized outbreak with 133 known cases in 129 provinces, mostly affecting sheep.[3] The outbreak has precipitated the vaccination of a large number of the 17 million sheep and five million goats in the country.[4]


The disease is spread from a region to another by sick animals. As virus is early inactivated outside the body, indirect contamination is generally limited.

In an affected flock, even in pest-free regions, the disease do not progress very rapidly, although close contact between animals. New clinical cases may be oberved daily for a one-month period. [5]


They are similar to those of rinderpest in cattle. They vary following the previous immunitary status of sheep (enzootic or newly infected country). They also vary following sheep breed.

Incubation period is two to six days.

Hyperacute cases

Hyperacute cases are found dead without previous symptoms. They die with a serous, foamy or haemorrhagic discharge coming out of the nose.

Acute cases at onset

In acute cases, animals are recumbent, sometimes in self-auscultation position.

Body temperature is high (40.5 to 41°C.) in the beginning of the onset in acute cases.

The most typical signs are seen in the digestive tract. When entering an affected flock, one sees many animals with hind limbs stained by sticky faeces. Some sheep have an arched back and show pain to defecate. Tenesmus may be noticed when taking rectal temperature. Fluid faeces are olive green to brown.

Examination of the mouth shows ulceration of the buccal mucosae, especially on the inner face of the lips, and neighboring gum. They can be periodontitis.

There is serous nasal exudate and conjunctivitis.

Evolution of acute cases

Nasal discharge becomes mucopurulent and may obstruct the nose.

A dry, fitful coughing develops.

Death occurs from 5 to 10 days after the onset of the fever.

Some animals may recover, but a dry, stertorous coughing often persists for some days. [6] Besides coughing, there is a intensive labial dermatitis with scab formation, resembling orf.[7]

Abortions may occur.[8]

Post-mortem lesions

The pathognomonic lesions are situated in the digestive tract. Quick post-mortem examination will lead to the discovery of many haemorrhagic patches on the serous membranes, and intense pneumonia. There is a risk that it may conclude with enzootic pneumonia, inability to open the mouth, and problems with the oesophagus and different parts of the intestine.

Erosions and inflammation is widespread on buccal mucosa. The same lesions are also present in pharynx, oesophagus, and on mucus-producing epithelia of the gut, from abomasum to rectum. Zebra-striped lesions on coecum and colon are said to be typical in some cases. Rarely, they are also petechiae on the rumen mucosa. [9]


History and clinical signs will enable a presumptive diagnosis to be made in endemic regions. The virus can be detected in acute cases from various swabs and blood samples, using PCR and ELISA. Antibodies can also be detected via ELISA.[8]

Treatment and control

Antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, penicillin and streptomycin can be used and supportive treatment may be helpful.[8]

A vaccine has been developed that may decrease death in the flock.[8]

According to the country's policy, there may be movement restrictions, slaughter of affected flocks in an attempt to eradicate the disease.[8]


  1. ^ D.C. Blood, J.A. Henderson, O.M. Radostits, Veterinary Medicine, Bailmlière Tindall, London, ISBN 0-7020-07-18-8.
  2. ^ Rowland A.C. Scott, G.R., Ramachandran, S. and Hill D.H. (1971) A comparative study of peste de petits ruminants and Kata in West African dwarf goats. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 3, 241-245.
  3. ^ "Outbreak of 'peste des petits ruminants' in Morocco". FAO Newsroom (FAO). September 9, 2008. http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000918/index.html. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  4. ^ "Morocco to vaccinate all livestock after virus outbreak". AFP. September 9, 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h33quK7215cAA4r-uxdSl6a7RgpQ. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  5. ^ L. Mahin (2008) Observations sur un foyer de Peste des petits ruminants, unpublished data.
  6. ^ J. Berrada, Observations des premiers cas confirmés de peste des petits ruminants au Maroc, oral presentation, El Jadida, 31-07-2008.
  7. ^ Handbook of Animal Diseases in the Tropics, op cit.
  8. ^ a b c d e Peste des Petits Ruminants reviewed and published by WikiVet, accessed 10 October 2011.
  9. ^ Tligui, Observations nécropsiques sur les premiers cas confirmés de peste des petits ruminants au Maroc, oral presentation, El Jadida, 31-07-2008.

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