Important Notice: TECHNICAL STATEMENT ON THE COUTRYWIDE VACCINATION AGAINST PESTE DES PETITS RUMINANTS (PPR)

TECHNICAL STATEMENT ON THE COUTRYWIDE VACCINATION AGAINST PESTE DES PETITS RUMINANTS (PPR)

During July - August 2019 Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), in collaboration with concerned Districts (Bugesera, Gisagara, Nyanza, Huye, Nyambagabe, Nyaruguru, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma, and Kirehe) conducted a vaccination campaign against PPR (Peste des Petits Ruminants also known as Small Ruminant Pest or Muryamo y'Amatungo Magufi yuza not to be confused with Rinderpest or muryamo y’inka) because of real threats to our country from neighbouring countries where it is common.

On 26th August 2019, mortalities of goats were reported in Gatsibo District, Kiziguro Sector, Ndatemwa Cell, Akabagendo and Ryarugema Villages suspecting post vaccination adverse reaction.

On 29th/8/2019 a meeting was convened by Gatsibo District gathering all concerned parties; it was agreed that farmers who lost their animals will be compensated in the near future by the Gastibo District and a technical investigation was recommended to dig deeper into the issue.

On 02nd September 2019, a joint technical team from RAB and Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors (RCVD), and Gatsibo District undertook a field visit in Gatsibo District, Kiziguro Sector, Ndatemwa Cell, Akabagendo and Ryarugema Villages. The objective was mainly to investigate on reported post vaccination mortalities of goats and on the veracity or lack thereof various information circulating and blaming the vaccine used and/or unknown disease.

This case was reported only in 2 villages mentioned above out 603 villages that comprise Gatsibo District. Overall 29,609 goats and sheep were vaccinated whereas 6 goats succumbed post vaccination as of 28/8/2019.  Further, 704,261 goats and sheep were vaccinated countrywide and no adverse reaction to the vaccine was reported elsewhere.

From all the households visited in Kiziguro and even in Rwimbogo Sectors, the investigating team did not find any clinical case of PPR or Rinderpest but rather found serious technical faults on the part of the professional vaccinator in Ndatemwa Cell. Currently, his case is under examination in RCVD disciplinary commission for deep analysis on the seriousness of the technical mistakes and the related sanctions.

Finally, we want to reassure the Rwandan farmers, that there is no Rinderpest in Rwanda. In fact, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced in 2011 that Rinderpest has been eradicated worldwide (see: www.oie.int/for-the-media/rinderpest/). This was announced at the OIE 79th annual General Session in Paris-France, in 2011 where delegates from various countries officially recognised that all 198 countries and territories with Rinderpest-susceptible animals in the world were free of the plague.

The last time that Rwanda experienced cases of Rinderpest dates back to 1931. The last massive and compulsory vaccinations against this viral disease goes back to 1983 as part of a Pan-African program aimed at eradicating it. Even at that time, there was no case of illness in Rwanda.

Highly contagious disease with a very high mortality rate, Rinderpest can in no case go unnoticed. Even in case the competent authority does not report it, because of its contagiousness and the heavy losses it causes, the international organisations would intervene (such situations are known in history).

For more information, please feel free to contact Dr Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director General in Charge of Animal Resources Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB). She is reachable at solange.uwituze@rab.gov.rw and 0788309637.

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