Past and present contributions of Joint FAO/IAEA Centre to eradication of rinderpest

The IAEA's support of rinderpest eradication efforts has been sustained over the past 20 years.

Rinderpest is an important killer disease of cattle. Since there is a vaccine that gives a life long protection and can be produced easily and cheaply, there is a good chance that the disease can be completely wiped out from the world. In other words - the disease can be eradicated.

There have been several large scale campaigns to do this and the last one has almost completed the task. The IAEA has played an intimate role in several of the areas needed for eradication purposes, notably in the development, use and management of tests and test systems to:

Aims of total elimination of rinderpest

Continuous support from the IAEA for twenty years

The efforts have included contact with scientists and administrators in very many countries in the World in particular in Africa and Asia, where rinderpest was a large scale problem.

The key to success has been that support of eradication efforts has been sustained over the past 20 years. The IAEA support comes from mechanisms including:

Coordinated Research Programmes (CRP)
Projects included "Rinderpest Sero-monitoring and Surveillance in Africa using Immunoassay Technologies" (D3.20.16).

National and Regional Technical Cooperation (TC) projects

International coordination
The IAEA has always had a strong link with FAO Rome, the OIE in Paris as well as with many research laboratories involved with animal diseases.
Parallel testing of kits under International scrutiny was an important feature in establishing the most effective kits for use in diagnosis and surveillance.
The main impact was that a large laboratory network of trained scientists was built up and sustained from the early 1980s allowing quality work and data to be obtained from laboratory work to support campaigns.

Specific elements provided

Use of ELISA technology to support validation and use Indirect ELISA in late 1980s; the Competitive ELISA in early 1990s to the present day; penside tests from early 1990s to present day; and the molecular technique polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for diagnosis from 1995 to present day. (references for BDSL kits and Montpellier).

Kit supply
Approximately 500 kits supplied and constant negotiations with producer to keep process low and maintain supply.

Equipment supply
Readers, pipettes, and all necessary items to do tests. (pictures of ELISA reader and PCR machine)

Production of manuals
For kits used and well as data manipulation, quality control (reference quality control charting). (Picture insert of charting method and reference on web page).

Training material
CD Roms The Diagnosis of Rinderpest and Preparation for the OIE pathway. (Can we get the RP and Mongolia one out? )

Production of International guidelines
OIE pathway. This system,elaborated during the expert consultation held in Paris (August 1989) on Rinderpest Surveillance Systems described in the document "Recommended Standards for epidemiological surveillance systems for rinderpest"), has since become informally but widely known as the OIE PATHWAY. diagnosis, performance indicators. (Illustrations)

Running of training courses / workshops

Running awareness meetings
Pakistan, Mongolia, Yemen,Leading to declarations of freedom.

Consultant meetings
Surveillance; Performance Indicators, OIE pathway.

Expert supply
Over 20 years approximately 50 expert visits to countries have been made.

TC Fellowship training has sent over 80 scientists to be trained.


The IAEA input has provided sustained support to many countries throughout the world in their fight against rinderpest and similar diseases for the last twenty years. This support has been through test development; kit supply; equipment supply, training; and management and technical expertise. This has added great value to the Global Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (GREP) and provided tools and personnel able to obtain data on which to base assessments of the rinderpest disease status nationally, regionally and globally.

The proof of success in control programmes is in confirming that all traces of rinderpest have gone from the world. The IAEA has shared in the success of the present situation of rinderpest in 2005 where it is now isolated as a mild form possibly in Somalia as against the situation even 7 years ago when acute disease was rampant in most of Africa, and the near and Far East. Particular successes, as marked by more recent International recognition of disease free status by the OIE, are in Pakistan, Mongolia, Yemen and Myanmar, who with the mechanisms supplied through the IAEA mentioned above, have achieved a remarkable and certified victory over the disease.