Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cattle Plague

Cattle Plague, or Rinderpest, is a contagious disease which affects ruminants, particularly oxen, and which is happily of only occasional occurrence in Great Britain. The natural home of the disease is Central Asia (Persia, India, and China); it is of not infrequent occurrence in Russia, and has been from time to time imported into Great Britain. Outbreaks innumerable of fatal murrains affecting cattle are on record, and some of these are, probably with justice, supposed to have been rinderpest; in the absence of detailed descriptions of symptoms it is, however, very difficult to pronounce with certainty upon the diagnosis of a malady which has only been scientifically studied within quite recent times. The most recent serious outbreaks of the disease which have occurred in Great Britain were those of 1865 and 1872. The chief symptoms of rinderpest are high fever, accompanied by inflammation of certain mucous membranes, with great prostration, and in most cases death occurs after from five to seven days. On post-mortem examination there is found to be marked involvement of the intestines, accounting for the dysenteric diarrhoea which is usually present during life, and other mucous membranes, particularly that of the respiratory tract, may be also involved. The disease is inoculable, and when so produced the incubation period is found to be short, usually about forty-eight hours. Protective inoculation with attenuated virus has been tried, but not hitherto with very marked success. The bacteriology of the disease has been worked at with much assiduity of late years, but it cannot be said that the problem has as yet been solved. Much has been done by legislative enactments to prevent the spread of the disease in Great Britain, and the importance of stringent regulations is sufficiently manifest from the fact that the money loss caused by the ravages of rinderpest in 1865-66 in Great Britain was certainly not less than £5,000,000.