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Acute, highly contagious viral disease of ruminants (including wild cloven-hoofed ones), common in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East. The virus spreads by close direct or indirect contact. It is the most severe infectious disease of cattle, with sudden onset and high mortality; fever and loss of appetite are followed by symptoms including eye and nasal discharge, laboured breathing, and diarrhea; prostration, coma, and death follow within 6–12 days. Local eradication depends on controlling it in wild animals and eliminating infected domestic animals; vaccination combined with quarantine is effective.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rinderpest, visit Britannica.com.