Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia - Fact Sheet

What is contagious bovine pleuropneumonia?

Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is a highly contagious, bacterial disease of cattle.

CBPP affects the lungs, causing respiratory distress, and can occasionally affect the joints.

The disease has been reported in water buffalo, Asian yaks and in American bison, but only experimentally in African buffalo. Sheep, wild bovids, camels, antelope, and goats appear to be resistant to the disease.

Is CBPP a risk to human health?

No. There is no human health risk associated with CBPP.

What are the clinical signs of CBPP?

CBPP has an incubation period of one to three months.

Not all animals are affected in the same way. There are various forms of CBPP.

Hyperacute form: Death is sudden and no other clinical signs are apparent.

Acute form: Fever and depression are followed by severe respiratory distress, which may cause:

  • dilation of the nostrils;
  • frothy saliva at the mouth;
  • "grunting" when exhaling or coughing;
  • laboured and painful breathing;
  • nasal discharge;
  • panting; and
  • standing with the head and neck extended.

Subacute form: Occurs most frequently, in about 40 to 50 per cent of affected animals. Symptoms are similar to, but less severe than, the acute form. Fever is intermittent.

Chronic form: The disease may develop in animals that survive the acute stages. Chronically infected cattle no longer show respiratory signs of the disease, but have an intermittent fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Calves affected by CBPP are more likely to become lame from swollen, painful limb joints and may not show signs of respiratory illness.

Where is CBPP found?

CBPP was a major livestock disease worldwide throughout the 1800s and into the 1920s. It was eradicated in the U.S. in 1892 and in Canada in 1876.

The disease was eradicated from most other countries by the early 1900s, but persists in many parts of Africa. Its current presence in Asia is unclear.

How is CBPP transmitted and spread?

CBPP is introduced into a herd by direct contact with an infected animal. It is primarily transmitted by:

  • coughing, the bacteria become airborne at close contact in droplets of bronchial secretions;
  • saliva;
  • urine; and
  • other secretions.

Recovered animals, known as carriers, can remain infected for as long as three years. Spread of CBPP by indirect transmission is rare.

How is CBPP diagnosed?

CBPP is diagnosed based on clinical signs, post-mortem examination, and laboratory tests, including blood samples for specific antibodies to the bacteria.

How is CBPP treated?

There is no efficient treatment for the disease. Guidelines under the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommend the culling of animals diagnosed with CBPP in order to eradicate the disease if introduced into a disease-free area.

Vaccination is widely used in Africa to control and prevent the disease, but immunity is of short duration and requires annual re-vaccination.

What is done to protect Canadian livestock from CBPP?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) imposes strict regulations on the import of animals and animal products from countries where CBPP is known to occur. These regulations are enforced through port-of-entry inspections done either by the Canada Border Services Agency or the CFIA.

CBPP is a "reportable disease" under the Health of Animals Act. This means that all suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA for immediate investigation by inspectors.

How would the CFIA respond to an outbreak of CBPP in Canada?

Canada's emergency response strategy to an outbreak of CBPP would be to:

  • eradicate the disease; and
  • re-establish Canada's disease-free status as quickly as possible.

In an effort to eradicate CBPP, the CFIA would use its "stamping out" policy, which includes:

  • humane destruction of all infected and exposed animals;
  • surveillance and tracing of potentially infected or exposed animals;
  • quarantine and animal movement controls to prevent spread;
  • decontamination of infected premises; and
  • zoning to define infected and disease-free areas.

Owners whose animals are ordered destroyed may be eligible for compensation.

Additional information

Date modified: