People, Environment

Fear of Ovine Rinderpest Epidemic in Tehran

Fear of Ovine Rinderpest Epidemic in TehranFear of Ovine Rinderpest Epidemic in Tehran

The sudden and inexplicable death of ten sheep and goats in Sorkh-e-Hessar region in south Tehran has become a cause for concern among provincial environment officials.

 The Iran Veterinary Organization is running tests on corpses to determine the cause of death, but Department of Environment officials fear they already know the answer.

“If it is ovine rinderpest, we have to expect a lot more corpses as the disease will spread northward,” Muhammad Karami, director of the Wildlife Office at the provincial DOE office, told ILNA.

Also known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), ovine rinderpest is a contagious disease affecting small ruminants such as goats and sheep and has an 80% mortality rate in severe cases.

If the tests confirm PPR as the cause of death, Sorkh-e-Hessar will become the second region in the province where the disease is found since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20. The first incidence of the disease was reported in Khojir National Park in eastern Tehran.

Last year, the disease took a heavy toll on livestock and wildlife in Varamin and Firouzkouh, in southern and eastern Tehran Province respectively, but authorities intervened on time to prevent the spread of the plague.

The first ever instance of PPR in Iran was reported in Tehran Province back in 1994 among domestic ruminants. Six years later in 2000, the disease resurfaced in Tehran, this time among wild animals, and has been affecting both livestock and wild animals sporadically ever since.