Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new” And He said to me, Write, for these word are true ND FAITHFUL.” Rev. 21:5, NKJV
The New York Times trumpeted the news: “Rinderpest, Scourge of Cattle, Is Vanquished.” So what is rinderpest, and why should I care?
Any German speaker will tell you that rinderpest mean “cattle plague,” but what they may not know is that this disease of cattle and other animals with cloven hooves is a viral infection closely related to distemper in dogs or to measles in humans.
Though rinderpest doesn’t affect humans directly, millions have died from starvation or suffered major disruption, after their cattle died. Soon after infection, animals spike a fever, their eyes run, sores appear in their nose and mouth, and their entire gut, beginning to end, is red and inflamed, and they die quickly from dehydration and protein imbalance. It can completely wipe out herds that lack immunity. For cultures dependent on cattle, goats, sheep, or water buffalo, the disease is life-changing. It may also affect such wild animals as antelope, kudu, and giraffe. Though some at first blamed rinderpest for decimating Pharaoh’s cattle during the fifth plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:3-7), recent genetic analysis from Japan suggests the virus more likely originated in central Asia sometime during the thirteenth century. Since its first wave of destruction, rinderpest epidemics broke out repeatedly through the centuries in Europe, India, the Mediterranean, Africa, and Britain, sparing few if any Eastern countries. In 1761 the first ever school of veterinary medicine organized to combat the disease and the World Organization for Animal Health started in 1924 as an international continuation of that effort. Immense efforts to quarantine, immunize against, and monitor the disease eventually isolated it to islands of nomadic herds in Africa. Victory celebrations in 1979 proved premature when additional outbreaks occurred. Continued improvements in vaccines, education, and protocols again reduced contamination to isolated regions so that a final assault in 1998 was eventually successful. The last known animal to have the disease died in 2001. For 10 years veterinarians, research scientists, and cattle raisers held their collective breath. Finally, it was time to celebrate.
Even so, come Lord Jesus. With Your return to claim Your faithful followers, all sickness and disease will be eradicated in a moment.