Rinderpest is eradicated but still lurks in labs, say worried scientists
The deadly virus is still held in at least 14 countries, and an outbreak could all too easily occur. It's happened before
The rinderpest epidemic that killed more than 90% of sub-Saharan Africa’s cattle and oxen in the late 19th century was so devastating that the phrase “before the rinderpest” is still used by South Africans of a certain age as a synonym for “long ago”.
Rinderpest has since been eradicated worldwide – only the second disease, after smallpox, to be wiped out.
But international watchdogs are alarmed by the slow progress in eliminating laboratory stocks of the virus, which are still held in at least 14 countries...