For the second time in history, a disease has been completely eradicated. Rinderpest, an ancient virus that would rapidly spread among and kill cattle, has been declared as eradicated by the United Nations on June 28. While the virus has only infected cattle, its implications were part of the reason of the Roman Empire’s downfall, as dead cattle provide no food, helped Genghis Khan expand his empire, impeded the progress of Charlemagne’s, and had a role in both the French and Russian revolutions.
Finally, after a modern campaign begun in 1945, the virus has at long last been proclaimed gone. The effort cost $5 billion, which might at first appear expensive, but the royal marriage in April ran up a grand total of $8 billion. It was most difficult to vaccinate animals in war-stricken zones, such as Sri Lanka, Yemen, and many parts of Africa.
Now, with the virus gone, new hope is given to the quest for the eradication of infectious diseases.