The Epidemic of Rinderpest in the 19th century Ethiopia: In search of Genomic signatures 

The Epidemic of Rinderpest in the 19th century Ethiopia: In search of Genomic signatures 

The Epidemic of Rinderpest in the 19th century Ethiopia: In search of Genomic signatures” 

Fikirte Adugna

 

Abstract

Rinderpest is one of the oldest animal diseases in the world. It has originated from the Asian subcontinent. The disease has also been wide spread to the medieval Europe and Middle East in the early 17th century, through livestock imports and military invasion.

Rinderpest had appeared in Ethiopia in 1884 via cattle imports. At the end of 19th c the Italian government has occupied Massawa. At that time Italian imported cattle from Asia the continent where Rinderpest originated, thus introducing Rinderpest to Ethiopia. The disease had wide spread all over the country and became a cause for the death of more than 90 percent of the cattle. It also affected the agricultural production since the farmers’ had used the cattle to plow their farmland. Consequently, the Ethiopian great famine ensued in 1888 accounting for the death of more than one million people from hunger within four years. The epidemic is an example of a historic event that may have had far-reaching consequences on the genomes of animals and humans. There are avenues where genomics can look at such impacts by detecting population “bottlenecks”, signatures of selection and other genomic manifestations.

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