Peste des petit ruminants

Peste des petit ruminants (PPR) is a contagious viral disease. Small ruminants (goats, sheep) are animals that primarily pay a heavy price to the disease but wildlife species such as gazelle are also highly susceptible.

Morbidity and mortality rates vary in these susceptible animals according to race and virulence of the virus. It is transmitted through close contact between animals. In acute PPR, pyrexia, oral erosions, discharges from the eyes and nose, pneumonia and diarrhoea are the main symptoms of disease.  

Mortality rates can reach 80 percent in acute cases. In "super acute" cases the mortality rate is 100 percent, with affected animals dying in the first week.PPR inflicts high losses of livestock as yearly reported by the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE). PPR is considered as a disease of major economic impact particularly in the inter-tropical regions of Africa, in the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and Asia.

The virus belongs to the genus Morbillivirus, in the family Paramyxoviridae. Other members of the genus are closely related highly pathogenic viruses such as rinderpest virus, canine distemper virus, measles virus and marine mammal viruses.

Genotypic classification of PPRV that shows four geographically separated lineages appears to be an efficient tool to follow the worldwide progress of the virus.Viruses of lineage I and II are shown to be restricted to the west and central part of Africa, while lineage III is common to the eastern part ofAfrica and the southern part of the Middle. InAsia, lineage IV seems to predominate.

More information:

FAO mission to follow up outbreaks of Peste des Petits Ruminants

Technical disease cards OIE

Information on Peste des Petits Ruminants from FAO (in French)

Recognizing Peste de Petits Ruminants: a field manual (FAO)

Download OIE reports

Research groups working on PPRV:

Morbillivirus group (IAH)

EPIZONE and peste des petits ruminants


  • Pen side test: the direct amplification of both RNA and DNA for PPR respectively from Whatman filter papers could be demonstrated, which will provide a basis for easy sample storage and distribution within the EPIZONE network. Discussions clearly indicated that nucleic acid amplification using either isothermal or PCR methods should be further investigated.

  • EPIZONE initiated an inter laboratory comparison trial for PPR genome and antibody detection, to strengthen the diagnostic capacities on peste des petit ruminants withinEurope.

Intervention strategies

  • A list of data of potential antiviral agents interfering with membrane binding, genome replication or gene silencing (siRNA) specific inhibiting either PPRV or morbiliviruses was created.