- 30 Oct 2018
Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague, is a disease of cattle. Humans are not affected.
The rinderpest virus was eradicated worldwide in 2011. There is a small chance of an outbreak, for example if disease samples were to escape from a laboratory.
Signs of rinderpest may include:
- grain-like bumps in the nostrils and inside the lips and cheeks that often develop into ulcers
- discharge of watery mucus from eyes and nostrils, occasionally including blood
- rapid breathing
- reduced milk production in cows
- loss of appetite
Cattle may be constipated In the early stages of rinderpest.
In the later stages diarrhoea is common, in which case the dung has a foul smell and is often tinged with blood.
Rinderpest spreads quickly within a herd and animals usually die six to ten days after signs appear.
How rinderpest is spread
Rinderpest is generally spread by direct contact with an infected animal or its body fluids.
The disease can also be spread by contaminated equipment and clothing, and over small distances on the breath of infected animals.
Human health implications
There are no human health implications because 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.
The main domestic legislation on rinderpest is the Cattle Plague Order 1928
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 rinderpest to and from your animals.
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.