Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides. As the name suggests, CBPP mainly affects the lungs and the membranes that line the thoracic cavity resulting in fever and respiratory distress such as laboured or rapid breathing, cough and nasal discharge. About 15% of infected animals die in endemic areas and up to 70% when introduced into naive herds; lactation loss is up to 90%.
CBPP has a devastating impact on livestock owners. It leads to reduced incomes through lower animal productivity, trade restrictions imposed on live cattle by disease-free countries, increased costs for veterinary services, and death.
CBPP is currently considered to be the most important bacterial livestock disease in sub-Saharan Africa. It currently affects over 20 countries in Africa and is suspected to be present in Asia. The economic implications of CBPP are difficult to estimate since diagnostic surveys for many regions in sub-Saharan Africa are absent, but preliminary estimated costs of at least USD 100 million per year in Africa (approximately USD 6.1 million per country) are likely.
Restriction of cattle movement, testing and slaughter, quarantine, and antimicrobials are not viable options in Africa. A live vaccine for CBPP exists but its efficacy is hampered by a short and limited duration of immunity (eight months) and requirement of a cold chain for delivery.
The goal of our research on CBPP is to lay the foundation for the creation of an efficient vaccine against M. mycoides infections in ruminants. Outputs will contribute to control of disease in animals through vaccination, improved trade of beef and reduced costs for national veterinary services.