Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


peste des petits ruminants



peste des petits ruminants


  • Last modified
  • 28 August 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • peste des petits ruminants
  • Overview
  • Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious viral disease of goats and sheep. The disease was first described by workers in the Côté d’Ivoire (Gar...

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Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Late-stage infection, ulceration of the hard palate, erosive stomatitis.
CaptionNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Late-stage infection, ulceration of the hard palate, erosive stomatitis.
CopyrightMax Bonniwell
Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Late-stage infection, ulceration of the hard palate, erosive stomatitis.
SymptomsNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Late-stage infection, ulceration of the hard palate, erosive stomatitis.Max Bonniwell
Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Mucopurulent nasal and ocular discharge.
CaptionNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Mucopurulent nasal and ocular discharge.
CopyrightMax Bonniwell
Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Mucopurulent nasal and ocular discharge.
SymptomsNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Mucopurulent nasal and ocular discharge.Max Bonniwell
Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Evidence of 'zebra striping' in intestine on necropsy examination.
CaptionNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Evidence of 'zebra striping' in intestine on necropsy examination.
CopyrightMax Bonniwell
Natural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana.  Evidence of 'zebra striping' in intestine on necropsy examination.
PathologyNatural case of PPR in a goat, Ghana. Evidence of 'zebra striping' in intestine on necropsy examination.Max Bonniwell
PPR in a goat, Nigeria.  Multi-nucleate giant cell in the lung (original magnification x400).
CaptionPPR in a goat, Nigeria. Multi-nucleate giant cell in the lung (original magnification x400).
CopyrightA.C. Rowland
PPR in a goat, Nigeria.  Multi-nucleate giant cell in the lung (original magnification x400).
HistopathologyPPR in a goat, Nigeria. Multi-nucleate giant cell in the lung (original magnification x400).A.C. Rowland
Dried exudate on the muzzle and around the eye resulting from rhinitis and conjunctivitis.
TitleExternal symptoms
CaptionDried exudate on the muzzle and around the eye resulting from rhinitis and conjunctivitis.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Dried exudate on the muzzle and around the eye resulting from rhinitis and conjunctivitis.
External symptomsDried exudate on the muzzle and around the eye resulting from rhinitis and conjunctivitis.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Necrosis of the epithelium (whitish areas) on the tongue and pharynx.
CaptionNecrosis of the epithelium (whitish areas) on the tongue and pharynx.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Necrosis of the epithelium (whitish areas) on the tongue and pharynx.
PathologyNecrosis of the epithelium (whitish areas) on the tongue and pharynx.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • peste des petits ruminants

International Common Names

  • English: goat plague; pest of sheep and goats; pest of small ruminants; pneumoenteritis complex; pseudorinderpest of small ruminants; stomatitis-pneumoenteritis syndrome

Local Common Names

  • Nigeria: kata

French acronym

  • PPR


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Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious viral disease of goats and sheep. The disease was first described by workers in the Côté d’Ivoire (Gargadennec and Lalanne, 1942), and thereafter in other parts of West Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. It is now recognized as being endemic in large parts of Africa, the Near and Middle East, and Asia (Banyard et al., 2010; OIE, 2020). The similarity in clinical signs to that of rinderpest in cattle probably accounts for the number of reports of rinderpest in small ruminants from some countries, and delayed the recognition of the disease as a distinct entity in India until the early 1990s. The infective agent was first considered a variant of rinderpest virus adapted to small ruminants, but was later shown to be antigenically (Gibbs et al., 1979) and genetically distinct (Diallo et al., 1989a). Although it had been previously proposed that PPR virus (PPRV) emerged from rinderpest virus (RPV) more recently than RPV diverged from measles virus and canine distemper virus, comparison of gene sequences suggest PPRV is no more related to RPV than to non-ruminant morbilliviruses (Das et al., 2000; Baron, 2011). Since PPRV isolates of West African, Middle Eastern and south Asian origin comprise distinct genetic groups, it is likely that the infections have circulated largely independently for long periods in each area.

The disease is recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (in French the Office International des Epizooties and still abbreviated as OIE) as a notifiable disease on account of the high mortality and morbidity, and rapidity of spread by contagion. Recognition of PPR as a problem increased in the 1990s, partly as a result of surveillance activities of the global rinderpest eradication programme (GREP), but also because of the capacity of the infection to invade disease-free countries. The presence of infection restricts international trade in livestock and livestock products from infected countries, and is usually associated with ongoing severe losses where conditions exist that support epidemic spread among susceptible breeds, such as the incursions of infection into 'marginal' zones for persistence of infection such as humid zones of West Africa. Under such conditions there is a high social impact of disease, since small ruminants often represent a readily convertible currency in smallholder agriculture. Control by vaccination is merited in many endemic countries, and the benefit-to-cost ratio is usually high. The disease was also important as a complication in the eradication of rinderpest, since PPRV can infect cattle and the resultant antibodies must be distinguished from those elicited by rinderpest. The use of rinderpest vaccine to protect against PPR is no longer permitted now that rinderpest has been eradicated, to avoid the possibility of RPV antibody detection in cattle or small ruminants. An attenuated strain of PPRV for use as a vaccine was developed in the late 1980’s (Diallo et al., 1989b) and is in wide use.

PPR has been targeted for eradication by 2030 by the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), following the successful eradication of rinderpest. The OIE and the FAO developed jointly the Global Control and Eradication Strategy of PPR under the Global Framework for the progressive control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs). The similarity between PPRV and RPV allows for the lessons learned from rinderpest eradication to be used in the PPR eradication strategy. For more information, see the OIE Peste des Petitis Ruminants Portal.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Bos indicus (zebu)Domesticated hostCattle and Buffaloes|All Stages
Bubalus bubalis (Asian water buffalo)
Camelus dromedarius (dromedary camel)
Capra hircus (goats)Domesticated host; Wild hostSheep and Goats|All Stages
Ovis aries (sheep)Domesticated host; Wild hostSheep and Goats|All Stages

Hosts/Species Affected

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Disease occurs in goats and sheep, and has been recognized in wild ungulates from families of Gazellinae (e.g. Dorcas gazelle), Caprinae (Nubian ibex and Laristan sheep) and Hippotraginae (e.g. gemsbok) and other wild sheep/goats (Baron, 2011). Experimentally, severe disease also occurs in white-tailed deer. Cattle undergo mainly subclinical reactions, and pigs develop a viraemia. PPRV has been detected in diseased camels (Roger et al., 2001; Khalafalla et al., 2010; Kwiatek et al., 2011) and water buffalo (Govindarajan et al., 1997). West African Dwarf goats are more susceptible than European breeds (Scott, 1990), and sheep and goats of the Sahelian zones are more resistant than dwarf types from humid zones to the south (Bourdin, 1983). Seasonality in breeding, in marketing and in crop production all appear related to disease occurrence. In arid and semi-arid zones, surplus animals are sold during the dry season, which may lead to spread of infection into other areas, especially if sale occurs via markets. In humid zones, sale of surplus animals may occur at the start of the rains, with tethering of animals to avoid crop damage. Both sale of animals and close housing/tethering can increase risk of transmission if virus is introduced. The wet season can also predispose to secondary bacterial infections, exacerbating the viral pneumonia.

Systems Affected

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digestive diseases of large ruminants
digestive diseases of small ruminants
respiratory diseases of large ruminants
respiratory diseases of small ruminants
skin and ocular diseases of large ruminants
skin and ocular diseases of small ruminants


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PPR was first reported in 1942 in Côté d’Ivoire, West Africa. It has now been reported in over 70 countries in Africa, the Near and Middle East, and Central and Eastern Asia (Niedbalski, 2020) The disease was reported in Georgia in 2016 (Donduashvili et al., 2018) and in Bulgaria in 2018 (Niedbalski, 2019).

The development of tests for the confirmation of the agent and the differentiation from rinderpest was only achieved in the late 1980s, and recent recognition of the infection in many African and Asian countries can be attributed to availability of methods for specific detection of virus and antibodies. However, given the rapidity of spread of epidemics and the lack of a carrier state, it is likely that infection is not maintained in some areas because of inadequate supply of susceptible animals and some incursions of disease appear self-limiting. Presence of infection in a country in one year does not imply endemic infection. However, the risk of transboundary spread of this disease is high because sheep and goats are easily transported and trade across borders is difficult to control. Recent extension of infection into China and a number of countries in Africa previously free of the disease (e.g. Kenya, Tanzania and several countries north of the Sahara) highlights the risk to previously free areas.

For recent, detailed information on the occurrence of this disease worldwide, see the OIE World Animal Health Information Database (WAHIS) Interface.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 06 Jan 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


BotswanaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
Burkina FasoPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
BurundiPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2018
Cabo VerdeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Central African RepublicPresentJul-Dec-2019
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
Congo, Republic of thePresent, LocalizedJan-Jun-2019
Côte d'IvoirePresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
EswatiniAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GabonAbsent, No presence record(s)
LesothoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
MadagascarAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MalawiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
MauritiusAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
MayotteAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
MozambiqueAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NamibiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NigerPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
RéunionAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Saint HelenaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
São Tomé and PríncipeAbsent, No presence record(s)
SenegalPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
SeychellesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
Sierra LeonePresentJul-Dec-2020
SomaliaPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2020
South AfricaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
ZimbabweAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019


AzerbaijanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BruneiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CambodiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Hong KongAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IndiaPresent, LocalizedJan-Jun-2019
IndonesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IsraelPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2020
JapanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
KyrgyzstanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
LaosAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)
-SabahAbsent, No presence record(s)
-SarawakAbsent, No presence record(s)
MyanmarAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
North KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)
PalestinePresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2019
PhilippinesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Saudi ArabiaPresentJan-Jun-2020
SingaporeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
South KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Sri LankaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
TaiwanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
ThailandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
TurkmenistanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
United Arab EmiratesPresent, LocalizedJul-Dec-2020
UzbekistanAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
VietnamAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019


AlbaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
AndorraAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
AustriaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BelarusAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BelgiumAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Bosnia and HerzegovinaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CroatiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CyprusAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CzechiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
DenmarkAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
EstoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Faroe IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaAbsent, No presence record(s)
FinlandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
FranceAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GermanyAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GreeceAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2018
HungaryAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IcelandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
IrelandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Isle of ManAbsent, No presence record(s)
ItalyAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
JerseyAbsent, No presence record(s)
LatviaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
LiechtensteinAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
LithuaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
LuxembourgAbsent, No presence record(s)
MaltaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
MoldovaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NetherlandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
North MacedoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NorwayAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PolandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
PortugalAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
RomaniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
RussiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2020
San MarinoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
SerbiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Serbia and MontenegroAbsent, No presence record(s)
SlovakiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SloveniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
SpainAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SwedenAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SwitzerlandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
UkraineAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
United KingdomAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
-Northern IrelandAbsent, No presence record(s)

North America

BahamasAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
BelizeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)
CanadaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Costa RicaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)
Dominican RepublicAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
El SalvadorAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GreenlandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
GuadeloupeAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GuatemalaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
HondurasAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
MartiniqueAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
MexicoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
NicaraguaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PanamaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)
Saint LuciaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2018
United StatesAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019


AustraliaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Cook IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Federated States of MicronesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
FijiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
French PolynesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
KiribatiAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2018
Marshall IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
New CaledoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
New ZealandAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PalauAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2020
SamoaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
Timor-LesteAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019

South America

ArgentinaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
BoliviaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
BrazilAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
ChileAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
ColombiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
EcuadorAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
Falkland IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
French GuianaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
GuyanaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2018
ParaguayAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
PeruAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
SurinameAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019
UruguayAbsent, No presence record(s)Jul-Dec-2019
VenezuelaAbsent, No presence record(s)Jan-Jun-2019


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The carcass is usually dehydrated, and soiled with faeces. The peri-orbital and perinasal areas are usually encrusted with muco-purulent discharges. The erosions and ulcerations in the mouth and throat are usually prominent, as is the presence of the secondary broncho-pneumonia. The underlying primary viral pneumonia may be less obvious but is manifested by areas of level red consolidation (Rowland et al., 1969). 'Zebra striping' in the colon may also be seen, and lympadenopathy.

The most important histopathological indicator of PPRV is the presence of multi-nucleated giant cells containing intra-nuclear and intra-cytoplasmic inclusions. Multi-nucleated giant cells (syncytia) are most readily detected in the lungs, but also occur in bronchial, alveolar and ileal epithelium.


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Clinical Diagnosis

A manual on the diagnosis of PPR has been produced (FAO, 1998). Suspicion of PPR would be raised by signs of stomatitis – or pneumonitis, with enteritis in several animals. A high mortality and morbidity rate would be expected in outbreaks occurring in non-endemic areas, or where outbreaks have not occurred for some time and animals are not vaccinated. The occurrence of both stomatitis, with erosions/ulcerations of epithelial surfaces in the oral cavity, together with diarrhoea, occurs in few other single diseases of sheep and goats. In an outbreak situation, early signs of infection, such as oculo-nasal discharges and fever, would be expected for in-contact animals, if some of the group have reached the late stage of the disease or have died. In most countries PPR is a notifiable disease and the authorities require to be informed if the infection is suspected. Given the infectivity of individual animals, immediate actions or advice to community leaders to contain movement of in-contact animals are important to reduce local spread while investigations are proceeding.

Differential Diagnosis

Other conditions to be considered are: contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, bluetongue, pasteurellosis, contagious ecthyma, foot-and-mouth disease, heartwater, coccidiosis, mineral poisoning.

Bluetongue infection occurs in many countries that are endemic or at-risk from PPR incursion. It can give rise to a muco-purulent discharge and high morbidity and mortality rate in susceptible sheep, but usually less so in goats. It does not usually result in a severe enteritis, although loose stools may occur, or erosions/ulcerations of epithelial surfaces. Bluetongue usually gives rise to visible signs of haemorrhage on the coronary band of the foot, in contrast to PPR.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects other stock as well as sheep and goats; cattle in the region would be expected to show more severe signs than sheep or goats. On occasion though, the disease is more severe in the latter, and cattle may be absent. However, the enteritis usually present in PPR is not seen in FMD.

The lesions of orf (contagious ecthyma) and sheep and goat pox differ in distribution to that of PPR, but animals recovering from PPR may develop proliferative growths on the lips resembling orf, and the virus may be involved in the pathogenesis of the condition. Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia occurs in many similar countries to PPR but does not usually give a high mortality in sheep, or have an accompanying severe enteritis. Heartwater can give a high mortality rate in susecptible breeds, but without a stomatitis.

Laboratory Diagnosis

Detection of the virus

PPRV is present at a high concentration in secretions and tissue samples in the early stages of the disease, but rapidly becomes difficult to detect after development of antibody responses. Collection of specimens from animals which have a serous ocular-nasal discharge and fever is preferable compared to later-stage signs of necrotic stomatitis-enteritis. The Manual of Standards of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE, 2008) gives a description of the recommended samples to be collected. In live animals, swabs should be made of the conjunctival discharges from the nasal and buccal mucosae. Whole blood should be collected in anticoagulant for virus isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and haematology. From the necropsy examination of two to three animals, lymph nodes, especially the mesenteric and bronchial nodes, lungs, spleen and intestinal mucosae should also be collected aseptically, chilled on ice and transported under refrigeration. Fragments of organs collected for histopathology are placed in 10% formalin. At the end of the outbreak, blood can be collected for serological diagnosis. The priority is therefore to collect suitable specimens from early cases, after discussion with the national veterinary laboratory and Government officers of the country concerned as to their capability and preferred system for laboratory confirmation. Post-mortem examination of carcasses can be valuable, particularly in wildlife and in situations where samples cannot be kept in suitable conditions during transport to the laboratory, with a view to collection of specimens for detection of multi-nucleated giant cells by histopathology. Infection can be confirmed by identification of the agent with specific tests. Detection of a rise in titre of antibody could also be used, with paired samples collected 14-21 days apart.

Several methods for detection of virus are recognized by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE, 2008). Of these, agar gel immuno-diffusion (AGID) and counter-immuno-electrophoresis (CIEP) are relatively simple and suitable for small-scale field centres and simple laboratories. The latter gives a faster result than the former, enabling detection in less than 2 hours. Antigen-capture ELISA using monoclonal antibodies is sensitive and specific (Libeau et al., 1994). The availability of the ELISA as a kit has undoubtedly assisted countries in the detection of PPR epidemics, and provides a standardised test. Molecular tests using gene probes have been superseded by PCR-based tests (Forsyth and Barrett, 1995), and these in turn have been superseded by real-time or quantitative PCR-based tests (Bao et al., 2008; Kwiatek et al., 2010; Batten et al., 2011). PCR is extremely sensitive and specific, and may be of advantage in testing tissues where virus cannot be detected by other means, including specimens for histopathology. However, the time taken to extract RNA, and undertake the RT-PCR is usually longer than that needed for CIEP, and higher technical standards are required to avoid false-positive reactions. Other tests have been described, including simple staining methods for detecting syncitia in conjunctival cells collected onto glass slides which are suitable for simple field use (Sumption et al., 1998), and monoclonal-based staining of such cells, or infected cells in histopathological sections (Saliki et al., 1994).

OIE Reference Laboratories

There are currently three OIE Reference Laboratories for PPR; namely, CIRAD (International Cooperation Centre for Agronomic Research and Development, Montpellier, France), the Pirbright Institute (Surrey, United Kingdom), and CAHEC (China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center, Qingdao, People’s Republic of China). As part of their mandate, the OIE Reference Laboratories are involved in a wide range of activities to support the global effort to control and eradicate PPR. They can advise on the use of various techniques for virus identification in field samples.

Serological tests

Antibodies are strongly induced by infection, and become detectable from the diarrheic stage onwards. The prescribed test for international trade (that which is accepted as a basis for the veterinary certification of animals as having evidence of presence or absence of antibodies) is virus neutralisation (VNT; OIE, 2008). Since there is cross-neutralisation between antibodies to PPR and RPV, a positive VNT result to PPR virus used to need to be compared to the titre obtained with RPV. The OIE considered that a serum is considered to be positive for PPR when the neutralisation titre is at least two-fold higher for PPR than for rinderpest. Since the eradication of RPV, this comparison is not required and indeed continued use of RPV in laboratories is strongly discouraged. Virus neutralisation tests involve use of live virus and cell cultures, and therefore require well-equipped laboratories and biosecurity to prevent escape of virus. VNT is therefore mainly restricted to laboratories with sufficient expertise and through-put of samples to justify the investment involved. The development of competition ELISA (C-ELISA) tests using monoclonal antibodies to either H (Anderson and McKay, 1994) or N (Libeau et al., 1995) antigens has extended the access to serological tests, and proved valuable in investigation of PPR epidemiology in the field. The tests are sensitive and specific. Kits are available from international organizations (IAEA, Vienna) and from the World Reference Laboratories for PPR in France, and the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright, UK. Haemagglutination inhibition tests for antibody have also been described with good correlation with VNT (Raj et al., 2000).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Bloody stools, faeces, haematochezia Sign
Digestive Signs / Congestion oral mucous membranes, erythema, redness oral mucosa Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sheep and Goats|All Stages Diagnosis
Digestive Signs / Excessive salivation, frothing at the mouth, ptyalism Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Digestive Signs / Mucous, mucoid stools, faeces Sign
Digestive Signs / Oral mucosal ulcers, vesicles, plaques, pustules, erosions, tears Sheep and Goats|All Stages Diagnosis
Digestive Signs / Tongue ulcers, vesicles, erosions, sores, blisters, cuts, tears Sign
General Signs / Dehydration Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Inability to stand, downer, prostration Sign
General Signs / Sweating excessively, hyperhidrosis Sign
General Signs / Tenesmus, straining, dyschezia Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Chemosis, conjunctival, scleral edema, swelling Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, redness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal edema, opacity Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Lacrimation, tearing, serous ocular discharge, watery eyes Sheep and Goats|All Stages Diagnosis
Ophthalmology Signs / Purulent discharge from eye Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Mouth, oral mucosal or tongue pain Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Reproductive Signs / Abortion or weak newborns, stillbirth Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Papule, pustule, vesicle, ulcer penis or prepuce Sign
Reproductive Signs / Vaginal or cervical ulcers, vesicles, erosions, tears, papules, pustules Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal breath odor, foul odor mouth Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal breathing sounds of the upper airway, airflow obstruction, stertor, snoring Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal lung or pleural sounds, rales, crackles, wheezes, friction rubs Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dull areas on percussion of chest, thorax Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Epistaxis, nosebleed, nasal haemorrhage, bleeding Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Sheep and Goats|All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Sheep and Goats|All Stages Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Sneezing, sneeze Sheep and Goats|All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin crusts, scabs Sign

Disease Course

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The pathogenesis has been little studied but what we do know shows it to be essentially similar to rinderpest virus, with infection occurring via aerosols, or ingestion by nuzzling or licking, with entry through the oropharynx and subsequent multiplication in the draining lymph nodes, and thereafter in lymph nodes through the body. Virus is then released which enters the circulation and is transported to the epithelium, where it multiplies in susceptible cells, resulting in the development of lesions and disease signs associated with damage to these sites (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993).

The course of infection is swift, with an incubation period of 2 to 6 days, with death usually occurring within 14 days of infection, 5 to 7 days after onset of pyrexia. The course of infection is development of fever, followed by ocular and nasal discharges and later erosions of the epithelial surfaces of the mouth and/or gums and onset of diarrhoea. Death occurs by dehydration, complicated by pneumonia.

The first signs are of fever, with a serous nasal discharge, followed within hours by depression. Pale areas of necrosis become visible on the gums, which develop into erosions develop in the mucous membranes lining the upper alimentary, upper respiratory and uro-genital tracts 1 to 2 days after onset of fever. Salivation becomes profuse, and the nasal discharge becomes muco-purulent and may block the nostrils, and muco-purulent ocular secretions may mat the eyelids together. Ulceration of the lesions in the alimentary tract contributes to a debilitating diarrhoea, and rapid loss of condition. Pneumonia commonly occurs, with frequent secondary infections with Pasteurella, and other latent infections including Mycoplasma capri, adenoviruses, orf virus and dermatophilosis. The condition is rapidly debilitating and death may rapidly occur after development of the diarrhoea/pneumonia. Affected animals have an exceptionally miserable appearance, and recovery is slow, often accompanied by growths on the lips, attributed to recrudescence of orf virus and/or exacerbation of Dermatophilus congolense infection (Scott, 1990).


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PPRV has a direct life cycle, maintained by infected animal to susceptible animal transmission, without involvement of carrier animals or vectors. The underlying requirement is a regular supply of susceptible hosts plus sufficient animal movement to allow mixing of the population (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993). Risk factors include unconfined husbandry, whether in urban or rural settings. The population size required to maintain infection is not known, but small populations probably cannot maintain infection for long and, therefore, given the rapid population turnover of small ruminants, disease associated with re-introduction can be severe. Severe epidemics probably reflect introduction of virus into areas with mainly susceptible populations and breeds, rather than endemic presence of infection throughout the year (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993). Re-introduction of infection at intervals appear frequently related to livestock movement into areas, for example introduction for slaughter at festivals (Bonniwell, 1980). There is one serotype of virus, and immunity is long-lasting, probably life-long. Because colostral antibody protects young animals, in endemic areas most disease occurs in animals after waning of colostral immunity, from 4 months to 2 years of age, with protection of animals which have had previous exposure. Serological studies indicate that many, if not most, infections are subclinical or insufficiently severe to attract attention, and this may be related to breed resistance. Mortality rate in areas considered endemic may be in the region of 4-5% whereas rates from 20% to 90% in outbreaks have frequently been reported under epidemic conditions (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993). Climate appears to play a role in increasing the severity of disease, via secondary infections exacerbating the infection of the lung, but also affects the migration of pastoralist flocks in response to rainfall and drought and the resultant exposure to infection.

The virus will infect a range of ruminant hosts, but appears to cause disease in only goats, sheep, certain antelope species and occasionally water buffalo (Govindarajan et al., 1997). The virus will infect cattle and pigs, but subclinically; potentially these species might be involved in transmission between small-ruminant populations, although evidence that this is important in the field is lacking. Infection of cattle with PPRV protects against rinderpest virus, and the exposure rates of cattle in West Africa to PPRV may have contributed to a failure to induce antibodies to RPV after vaccination (Anderson and McKay, 1994), and also to the rapidity of eradication efforts against RPV in this region. In the same way, antibodies to RPV can protect sheep/goats from PPRV (Taylor, 1979), and it is possible that the recent rapid spread of PPR may be due to the eradication of rinderpest and the cessation of vaccination against this disease. Antibodies to RPV can be distinguished from those to PPRV in cattle by use of monoclonal antibody based tests. PPR virus isolates differ in their pathogenicity for each host, with some strains resulting in more disease in sheep than goats. However, the outcome of infection is also markedly affected by animal breed, with some breeds from Sahelian countries showing marked resistance in contrast to those of West African humid zones (Bourdin, 1983).

Impact: Economic

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PPR has been spreading, reaching regions previously not infected and putting hundreds of millions of small ruminants at risk. In populations not previously exposed to PPR, the disease has been associated with devastating socio-economic losses and serious damage to the livelihoods, food security and nutrition of millions of small-scale farmers and pastoralists. In 2015, direct annual losses due to PPR were estimated to be between US$1.2 billion and US$1.7 billion, with estimated expenditure on PPR vaccination of between US$270 million and US$380 million. The annual impact of PPR alone may be valued at between US$1.45 billion and US$2.1 billion per year. Approximately a third of the global financial burden of PPR is borne by Africa, with a further quarter borne by South Asia (OIE-FAO, 2015).

The disease contributes to loss of the live export trade in sheep and goats because PPR is a listed disease; however, in most countries where it occurs other listed diseases would also require to be eradicated or controlled before PPRV was the limiting constraint to trade. Stem (1993) estimated a US$24 million return on an investment of US$2 million in PPR control in Niger over a 5-year period. Awa et al. (2000) also indicated benefit-to-cost ratios of 2.26 to 4.23 for a PPR vaccination and strategic anthelminthic programme in Cameroon.

OIE and FAO released a strategy in 2015 aiming for global eradication of PPR by 2030 (OIE-FAO, 2015). The Global Strategy has three integrated components: eradication of PPR (Component 1), strengthening veterinary services as a country moves towards PPR eradication (Component 2) and creating cost effective opportunities to control other priority diseases (Component 3).

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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PPR virus has not been shown to present any risk to human health. However, the carcasses of animals suffering from PPR are unlikely to provide good-quality meat and should be buried or destroyed by heat.

Disease Treatment

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There is no treatment for PPRV infection itself, but antibiotics may be given to prevent secondary infections and other treatments given to alleviate the clinical signs.

Chloramphenicol 10 ml/kg body weight, penicillin 10,000 IU/kg, streptomycin 10 mg/kg, each given intramuscularly for 5 days), intestinal sedatives (Entero Sediv, 20 ml/kg for 4 days orally) and fluid therapy (Pedialyte, 30 ml/kg, for 4 days subcutaneously) were used to treat pneumonia, diarrhoea and restore body fluid ionic balance (Wosu, 1989).

Prevention and Control

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Immunization and Vaccines

A live, attenuated strain (PPRV Nigeria 75/1) of the PPR virus has been developed for use as a vaccine and provides protection for over 3 years (Diallo et al., 1989b). Other attenuated strains of PPRV have been developed in India (for review, see Sen et al., 2010). These vaccines have superseded the use of an attenuated rinderpest vaccine, whose use is no longer permitted following the eradication of RPV. Previous trials (usually with RP vaccine) reported reduction in mortality, particularly in weaned young stock, and positive benefit-to-cost ratios. A reduction in mortality of 24% was reported in Nigeria compared to controls, for a combined vaccination and dipping programme (Reynolds and Francis, 1988). In Cameroon, a benefit to cost ratio of between 2.26 and 4.23 was reported for goats and sheep through use of PPR vaccination and strategic anthelminthic treatment (Awa et al., 2000). In Niger, Stem (1993) estimated an internal rate of return of 900% for a PPRV vaccination programme over 5 years.

Husbandry methods and good practice

Risk factors for occurrence of disease are the purchase of animals from markets, and free-range husbandry of animals, when PPRV is known to be present in the region. In Oman, animals under controlled grazing (e.g. fenced or paddocked) were at lower risk than free-ranging urban livestock (Taylor et al., 1990).

Local Control

Movement control, at the level of total standstill of livestock movements and banning of markets may be effective if enforceable and short-lasting in duration, since the incubation period is short. However, an effective quarantine of affected and in-contact animals for one month after the recovery of the last clinically affected case has been recommended (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993). These measures may be accompanied by a slaughter policy of animals on infected and in-contact premises, in addition to the ban on livestock movements, if the aim is rapid eradication. Measures that negatively affect livelihoods will be unpopular and difficult to enforce unless accompanied by incentives, and have rarely been implemented by authorities.

National and International Control Policy

PPR is a listed disease of the OIE, and thus member states are required to inform the OIE of the occurrence of the disease in their territory. The OIE publishes recommendations for zoo-sanitary conditions and certification of trade in animals and livestock products from countries which are not recognized as having freedom from PPR disease (OIE, 2011). The OIE recommends sanitary prophylaxis (movement control, quarantine of infected premises, with slaughter of infected animals and in-contacts) when the disease appears in previously PPR-free countries. The use of a stamping-out policy, involving slaughter of infected and in-contact animals on infected premises, can lead to a reduced period of time elapsing after the last case of disease has been reported before the country is internationally recognized as free of PPR. For more information, see the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

Positive ratios for benefit-to-cost of national programmes have been reported (Stem, 1993) and increase in small-ruminant numbers in Oman was attributed to control of PPR by vaccination (Rossiter and Taylor, 1993).

PPR Global Control and Eradication Strategy

Despite the availability of an efficacious and cheap live-attenuated vaccine, the virus has continued to spread. In April 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) launched the PPR Global Control and Eradication Strategy (PPR GCES) with the vision for global eradication by 2030. There is a strong and lasting international consensus to eradicate the disease in order to protect the livelihoods of the world's poorest populations (Njeumi et al., 2020). Vaccination is being taken forward as the key strategy along with epidemiological surveillance to target vaccination efforts and eradicate the disease (Mahapatra et al., 2020).


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Links to Websites

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CFSPH: Animal Disease Information"Animal Disease Information" provides links to various information sources, including fact sheets and images, on over 150 animal diseases of international significance.
FAO PPR information
FAO: Supporting livelihoods and building resilience through Peste des Petits Ruminants 2013. Supporting livelihoods and building resilience through Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and small ruminant diseases control. Animal Production and Health Position Paper. Rome.
Global strategy for the control and eradication of PPR
OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (Terrestrial Manual) aims to facilitate international trade in animals and animal products and to contribute to the improvement of animal health services world-wide. The principal target readership is laboratories carrying out veterinary diagnostic tests and surveillance, plus vaccine manufacturers and regulatory authorities in Member Countries. The objective is to provide internationally agreed diagnostic laboratory methods and requirements for the production and control of vaccines and other biological products.
OIE Peste des Petits Ruminants Portal
OIE Technical Disease Cards updated compilation of 33 technical disease cards, containing summary information, mainly directed to a specialised scientific audience, including 32 OIE-listed priority diseases. USDA-APHIS (USA) are also credited with contributing to the maintenance of the cards.
OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code sets out standards for the improvement of terrestrial animal health and welfare and veterinary public health worldwide, including through standards for safe international trade in terrestrial animals and their products. The health measures in the Terrestrial Code should be used by the veterinary authorities of importing and exporting countries to provide for early detection, reporting and control agents pathogenic to terrestrial animals and, in the case of zoonoses, for humans, and to prevent their transfer via international trade in terrestrial animals and terrestrial animal products, while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers to trade.
Peste des Petits Ruminants global eradication programme (2017-2021)
USAHA: Foreign Animal Diseases. Seventh Edition © 2008 by United States Animal Health Association ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Library of Congress Catalogue Number 2008900990 ISBN 978-0-9659583-4-9. Publication with 472pp. aimed at providing information for practitioners within the USA to prevent and or mitigate the incursion of foreign animal diseases into that country. Contains general chapters on surveillance, diagnosis, etc. as well as 48 chapters covering individual diseases, mostly those notifiable to the OIE.

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