Eradication of peste des petits ruminants: application of new research to guide and facilitate the global elimination of the disease.
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild small ruminants caused by the peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), which belongs to the genus Morbilivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae. The PPRV causes disease in goats and sheep, as well as in wild ruminants, such as gazelle, deer, antelope, Nubian ibex, gemsbok and others. PPR was first recorded in early 1942 in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and spread to around 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia - regions that are home to over 80% of the world's sheep and goats. Until 2018, PPR had never been detected in Europe. On 24th June 2018, however, the Bulgarian authorities reported cases of PPR in sheep in the village of Voden, Bolyarovo municipality of Yambol region, on the border with the Thrace region of Turkey. It was the first occurrence of PPR in Bulgaria and in the European Union (EU). The control and eventual eradication of PPR is now one of the top priorities for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In 2015, the international community agreed on a global strategy for PPR eradication, setting 2030 as a target date for elimination of the disease. The aim of this paper was to highlight future research that could be performed to guide and facilitate the PPR eradication programme. Such research includes studies on PPR transmission and epidemiology, as well as the development and application of new-generation PPR vaccines capable of differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). Moreover, there is a need for research to improve and adapt existing diagnostic techniques as well as to develop novel PPRV recognition methods, such as a lateral flow device for in-field use, that accelerate decisions about the implementation of control measures.