Infectious Disease

PPR a risk to Europe

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Science  26 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 817-818
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6340.817-f

Imagine the shock if your flock of sheep dropped dead, foaming at the mouth. This is a classic symptom of acute infection with peste de petits ruminants (PPR), a morbillivirus resembling the now eradicated rinderpest, which causes up to 80% mortality in small livestock. There are robust vaccines, but they are not deployed systematically, although PPR has been earmarked by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for eradication by 2030. Baazizi et al. confirm that an East African strain of PPR virus is circulating in northern Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. This strain probably originated from an outbreak in Sudan in 2000 but has crossed the Sahara as a result of porous borders and high levels of illegal trade. The threat to Europe comes from two fronts because PPR virus is also present in western Turkey. Among other mammals, cervids are susceptible to the virus, which puts northern Europe at particular risk, owing to the high deer populations in this region.

PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0175461 (2017).

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