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$996.4-million plan launched to rid sheep and goat plague

Staff Writer | October 29, 2016
The ground has been broken on a major international initiative to rid the world of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) also known as sheep and goat plague.
Goat plague
Disease   The annual global damage is up to $2.1 billion
This is a highly contagious viral animal disease that causes major losses in regions home to millions of the world's poorest people.

The $996.4 -million plan launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is the first phase of what will be a 15-year effort to eradicate PPR by 2030.

Since it was first identified in Côte d'Ivoire in 1942, PPR has spread to some 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia - in September 2016, Mongolia reported its first-ever case of PPR.

Over 80 percent of the world's sheep and goats are found in these regions, where many families rely heavily on products like goat milk, mutton and wool for their nutrition and livelihoods.

FAO estimates some 300 million small-scale farming families worldwide depend on small ruminants for food and income.

To illustrate, a recent outbreak in India alone caused $180 million in losses, while a series of epidemics in Kenya in 2006-2008 killed 1.2 million small ruminants, causing losses exceeding $23.5 million and a drop in milk production of 2.1 million litres.

In all, the annual global damage due to PPR is estimated to be between $1.4 and $2.1 billion.