Plague-Like Diseases of Animals

Plague-Like Diseases of Animals


a group of infectious diseases characterized by an acute course, a variety of symptoms, and high mortality (70–100 percent). The diseases included in the group (see Table 1) differ from one another in etiology, economic impact, and other aspects.

Viruses are the causative agents of most of the plague-like diseases of animals. However, camel plague and furunculosis are caused by bacteria, and crab plague is caused by a pathogenic fungus. The etiology of pike and whitefish plague has not been

Table 1. Some plague-like diseases of animals
DiseaseAnimals affectedPrincipal symptomsDistribution
Rinderpest (or cattle plague)Cattle, zebus, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, swineFever, erosions and ulcers on the buccal mucosa, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, vaginitis miscarriages, diarrheaAfrica, Middle East; eradicated in the USSR
Classical fever (or hog cholera)SwineFever, prostration, digestive disorders, conjunctivitis, petechial hemorrhagesAsia, America, Africa; isolated cases in the USSR
African swine feverSwineFever, prostration, vomiting, convulsions, paralysis, cyanosis, hemorrhagesAfrica, Spain, Portugal
African horse sicknessHorses, mules, asses, zebras; occasionally dogsFever, weakness, tremors, conjunctivitis, cough, cyanosis of the mucosaAfrica, Middle East
Fowl choleraChickens, guinea fowl, pheasants, peacocksFever, conjunctivitis, cyanosis of the comb and wattle, convulsions, paralysisNorth Africa; sporadically in Europe, including the USSR
Newcastle diseaseChickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, pheasants, peacocksFever, diarrhea, discharges fromthe nose, and mouth, cough, paresis, paralysisAll countries
Anatipestifer infectionDucks, less commonly geese and swansDrowsiness, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, loss of appetite, thirst, diarrhea, inflammation of the cloaca, neurological disordersEurope, including the USSR
DistemperDogs, foxes,arctic foxes, raccoons, mink, polecats, sables, jackals, wolves, catsFever, listlessness, loss of appetite, rhinitis, cough, conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, skin rash, pneumonia, convulsions, paralysisWidely distributed in all countries
Camel plagueCamels, rodents, also humansFever, prostration, loss of appetite and rumination, miscarriages, cough, enlargement of superficial lymph nodesAsia, Africa, America, southeastern USSR (natural reservoirs of rodent plague)
Pike plaguePikes, rarely roach, European pike, burbot, European breamHemorrhagic inflammation of the buccal mucosa and gills, skin and scales, necroses, ulcersEurope; a few cases in the USSR
FurunculosisSalmonUlcerative lesions of the skin and scales, necrosis of finsGreat Britain
Whitefish plagueWhitefish (cisco and others)Inflammation of muscles, destruction of skin and scalesEurope; a few cases in the USSR
Crab plagueCrabsWalking on outstretched legs, convulsionsEurope, Baltic region of the USSR (several natural reservoirs)

determined, but the epizootological characteristics of these diseases suggest that they are plague-like diseases.

Plague-like diseases usually occur in epizootics affecting large numbers of animals. They occur throughout the year, strike animals of all ages, and are transmitted by food or through the air (African swine fever and camel plague are also transmissible diseases). The incubation period is brief, averaging three to 12 days; the course is acute, and the animals die soon after onset. Methods of laboratory diagnosis have been developed for almost all of the diseases. Rinderpest (or cattle plague), African swine fever, classical swine fever (or hog cholera), African horse sickness, fowl cholera, and Newcastle disease are highly contagious; control measures include mandatory notification of any outbreak of any one of these diseases, quarantine, and the slaughter of the diseased animals and the burning of the carcasses. If outbreaks of other plague-like diseases occur on a farm, restrictive measures are instituted, the diseased animals are isolated, and disinfection is carried out. Specific preventive agents (vaccines) have been developed for most of the diseases.


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