To avoid an escape of the dangerous cattle disease virus known as Rinderpest into the livestock population that could lead to another devastating pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with PANVAC, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), carried out a safe destruction of Rinderpest Virus Containing Materials RVCMs at the National Veterinary Research institute Vom, Plateau State.
Rinderpest, a deadly disease of cattle was globally eradicated in 2011 after hundreds years of recurring devastating pandemics. It is pertinent to note that the disease and smallpox in human are the only disease that have been successfully eradicated throughout the world.
A cardinal rinderpest prevention measure is the search for and safe storage or destruction of all (RVCMs) found anywhere across the world.
In his address at the destruction of the RVCMs, the Director Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olaniran Alabi said the event marks the end of rinderpest disease in the country.
“The exercise being carried out today marks the successful conclusion of a process that began since November 14, 2017. Nigeria has fulfilled all requisite conditions, was declared free from rinderpest on May 27, 2010, by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) with the disease being declared globally eradicated in May, 2011.
He said that after some search, it was learnt that some RVCMs was discovered in university of Maiduguri, with this discovery, the Department contacted relevant organization and agencies such as OIE, FAO and PANVAC for the purpose of working out modalities on the best way to safely handle the materials.
“Various options were considered leading to the eventual mutual decision for an in-country destruction of the found RVCMs at the NVRI. That is why we are here today”, he added.
Also speaking, the Commissioner, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission, Tumusiime Peace congratulated Nigeria for being up to task in responding rapidly to any rinderpest event in the country.
“It is gratifying to note that even though the global eradication of rinderpest, a disease which has caused havoc among livestock communities has been achieved, Africa and all stakeholders still remained more than ever committed to ensuring the maintenance of a rinderpest free world.
“Also as part of the commitment of the AU Commission, the Chairperson of the AUC inaugurated the continental Rinderpest Vaccine Bank at PANVAC in January this year. Presently, the Bank holds seed stock and 1.5 million doses of rinderpest vaccines to be used in any unlikely event of rinderpest outbreak globally.
“In line with this, PANVAC will in the next few weeks issue a tender for the production of 10 million doses of emergency based on the request of AU member states”, Peace said.