Peste des petits ruminants - Fact Sheet

What is peste des petits ruminants?

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as "pseudo-rinderpest of small ruminants", is a viral disease of sheep and goats.

PPR is characterized by the following clinical signs:

  • diarrhea;
  • fever;
  • pneumonia;
  • sores in the mouth; and
  • death.

Sheep and goats are the usual animals affected by PPR, with goats more severely affected. The disease has also been recorded in domesticated deer, gazelle, and ibex.

While pigs and cattle can also be infected with the virus, they do not show clinical signs and are unable to transmit the disease.

Is PPR a risk to human health?

No. There is no human health risk associated with this disease.

What are the clinical signs of PPR?

The disease usually has a sudden onset with the following clinical signs:

  • clear nasal discharge;
  • fever;
  • loss of appetite; and
  • severe depression.

As the disease progresses the following additional signs can be observed:

  • thick yellow discharge crusting and blocking the nostrils;
  • severe eye infections;
  • swelling of the tissues in the mouth;
  • ulcers on the lower gums, dental pad, hard palate, cheeks and tongue; and
  • severe diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and severe weight loss.

Pneumonia is common in later stages. Pregnant animals may abort. The prognosis of PPR is poor-death can occur three to eight days after the onset of fever. Young animals are most severely affected.

Where is PPR found?

PPR has been recorded in many parts of the world. PPR has never been found in Canada.

How is PPR transmitted and spread?

The disease is not highly contagious and transmission requires direct contact between animals. Sources of the virus include:

  • feces from infected animals;
  • nasal discharge;
  • secretions from coughing; and
  • tears.

Infection occurs mainly through the inhalation of fine droplets that are released into the air when affected animals cough and sneeze. Although close contact is the most likely mode of transmission, it is suspected that water, feed troughs and bedding can also be contaminated with secretions and become additional sources of infection.

How is PPR diagnosed?

The disease may be suspected based on the clinical signs. Laboratory tests confirm the diagnosis.

How is PPR treated?

There is no specific treatment for this disease.

What is done to protect Canadian livestock from PPR?

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

PPR 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 PPR in Canada?

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

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

In an effort to eradicate PPR, the CFIA would use a "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

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