Publication - Advice and guidance

Goat plague: how to spot and report the disease

Published: 30 Oct 2018

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of this infectious disease.

Published:
30 Oct 2018
Goat plague: how to spot and report the disease

Goat plague, also known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), affects goats. It can also affect sheep. It does not affect humans.

Latest situation: the disease has never been recorded in Great Britain.

Clinical signs

Signs of infection may include:

  • fever
  • discharge from the eyes and nose, which can form a crust, making breathing difficult and forcing eyes shut
  • coughing
  • very bad smelling breath
  • diarrhoea

Most sheep and goats that show signs of the disease will die.

Cattle and pigs can also be infected, but do not show signs of disease.

If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence. 

How goat plague is spread

The goat plague virus is excreted in bodily fluids of infected animals especially:

  • tears
  • mucus from the nose
  • coughs

It is spread by close contact, and especially by airborne droplets of the virus.

Human health implications

There are no human health implications becuase the disease is not zoonotic.

How to control the disease

An outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases.

Legislation

Goat plague is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.

Goat plague is also covered by EU Council Directive 92/119.

In both UK and EU legislation the disease is referred to as peste des petits ruminants, not goat plague.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimise the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of goat plague to and from your animals.

Contact

If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence.