Rinderpest Pandemic in Africa

The rinderpest virus spread throughout Africa as a result of European colonization. Brought by Italians during their attempt to conquer Ethiopia, the disease quickly engulfed the herds of Ethiopia, killing over ninety percent of the cattle and spreading throughout the Sub-Saharan region. Mortality among buffalo, hartebeest, and antelope populations was also high. A subsequent outbreak of smallpox exacerbated the situation and devastated indigenous populations. Rinderpest remained widespread in Africa until the introduction of an effective vaccination at the end of the twentieth century. On June 28, 2011, the worldwide eradication of rinderpest was officially declared at the 37th conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Further Readings: 
  • Barrett, Thomas, Paul-Pierre Pastore, and Taylor Williams, eds. Rinderpest and Peste des Petits Ruminants: Virus Plagues of Large and Small Ruminants. London: Elsevier, 2006.
  • Pearce, Fred. "Why Africa’s National Parks are Failing to Save Wildlife." Yale Environment 360, January 19, 2010. View article
  • Simpson, Paul. "Eradicating Rinderpest." BlueSci, January 29, 2011. View article