Deadly cattle virus samples may not be secure, official warns

04/16/2013 | Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)

Rinderpest, a disease of cloven-hoofed animals that has a near 100% mortality rate in cattle and buffalo, was eradicated two years ago, but dozens of labs still have samples that some fear aren't secure. Countries in the World Organization for Animal Health agreed to preserve only a few samples at high-security locations, but 25 laboratories have the virus, according to veterinarian and Director General Bernard Vallat. "If you release these materials into the wild, they can touch sensitive species and re-trigger a global animal disease even more so that there are no animals vaccinated anymore," Dr. Vallat said. "It would be a disaster if it happened."

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