1902 Encyclopedia > Murrain

Murrain




MURRAIN, a term usually restricted to extensive out-breaks of disease in cattle, but also applied to serious disorders among sheep and pigs, in taken in this article to cover general or infectious disorders of all the domesticated animals, and as synonymous with plague or epizooty.

It is now an established fact that murrains are all infectious, i,e., capable of transmission from diseased to healthy creature of the same, or perhaps of many different species, the manner and degree of infectiousness varying somewhat in some of the disorders. It is also an established fact that several of them—and presumably all—owe their existence and spread to a micro-organism or germ, vegetable or animal in its nature, which, obtaining access to healthy body disposed to its reception, grows and multiplies rapidly there, and produce characteristic morbid symptoms and alterations in tissues and organs. On the presence and dissemination of this germ or virulent these disease depend for their continuance and extension ; and this knowledge furnishes us with the indications for the sanitary measures required to limit their spread, or to effect their extermination.

In previous ages the great outbreaks of murrains only occurred at comparatively rare intervals, in regions more or less remote from those to which were native; and then generally owed their diffusion to the events of war, which sometimes carried them far beyond their ordinary boundaries. In modern times their extension has been greatly facilitated by the vastly improved means of communication. The movement of large numbers of animals through the channels of commerce and their raped transport from one country to another, their concentration in markets, their incessant renewal, the mixing of native with foreign animals, a general indifference to the existence of contagious disease and the losses they might inflict, the absence of anything like an organization to control and regulate this movement, carry out sanitary regulations, and investigate and suppress these murrains—all these have operated in rendering some of the most harassing and destructive scourges more or less cosmopolitan spreading them from a very limited area in the middle of a continent to every quarter of the globe, where they flourish as vigorously and persistently as if indigenous to the soil.

The best-known murrains are discussed below.

1. Anthrax.—This is one of the most diffused and interesting of murrains, affecting, as it does, wild as well as domesticated animals. It prevails, in one or more of its forms, over the entire surface of the globe. It at times decimates the reindeer herds in Lapland and the Polar regions, and is only too well known in the tropics and in temperate latitudes. It has been observed and described in Russia, Siberia, Central Asia, China, Cochin China, Egypt, West Indies, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of North and South America in Australia, and on different parts of the African continent, while for other European countries the writings which have been published with regard to its nature, its peculiar characteristics, and the injury it inflicts are innumerable. Countries in which are extensive marshes, or the subsoil of which is tenacious or impermeable, are usually those most frequently and seriously visited. Thus there are regions notorious for the prevalence of this murrain, such as the marshes of Sologne, Dombes, and Bresse in France; certain parts of Germany, Hungary, and Poland; in Spain it is severely felt in the half-submerged valleys and the maritime coasts of Catalonia, as well as in the Romagna and other marshy districts of Italy; while it is epizotic, and even panzootic, in the swampy regions of Esthonia, Livonia, Courland, and especially of Siberia, where it is known as the Sibirskaja jasua (Siberia boil-plague), and where it sometimes happens that, in order to suppress its ravages, battalions of soldiers must be sent to bury or burn the carcases of infected animals which float in the canals or lie in the swamps, rendering the air and the water pestilent. The records of the anthraz go back to a very ancient date. It is supposed to be the murrain of Exodus. Classical writers allude to the anthrax as if it were the only cattle disease worthy of mention (see Virgil, Georg., iii). It figures largely in the histories of the Early and Middle Ages as a devastating pestilence among animals, and through them to mankind; and our oldest Anglo-Saxon manuscripts contain many fantastic recipes, leechdoms, charms, and incantations for the prevention or cure of the "blacan blezene" (blakc blain) and the relief of the "elf-shot" creatures. From these up to our own times it has attracted more and more attention, as even in the last and this century it has sometimes spread in an epizootic manner over the whole of Europe, from Siberia to France. It was in this malady that the presence of disease-producing germs (bacilli) was first discovered by Pollender and veterinary surgeon Brauell of Dorpat, and their real character afterwards verified by Davaine; and it has been in their experiments with this disease that Chauveau, Toussaint, and Pasteur have shown how to make the morbific poison its own antidote.

Symptoms.—These vary according as the disease runs its course as a general or localized affection. While death is usually rapid or sudden when the malady is general, constituting what is designated splenic apoplexy or anthrax fever, in the local form, marked by the formation of carbuncles before general infection occurs, it is more protracted. In the apoplectic form there is apparently no local manifestation, and dissolution may take place so quickly (in a few minutes) that there is no time to afford relief. One or more of the best-conditioned and perhaps robust animals in a herd or flock, which until then exhibited no sign of the disease, are suddenly struck down as if shot while grazing, feeding in the stable, or travelling, and rise no more. Or they commence all at once to tremble and stagger; the breathing becomes hurried and the pulse very rapid, while the heart beats violently ; the internal temperature of the body is high; blood flows from the nose, mouth, and anus; the visible mucous membranes are almost black in tint; and death soon supervenes, being immediately preceded by delirium, convulsions, or coma. In some cased the animal rallies from a first attack, but soon a second ensues, to which it speedily succumbs, the creature in the interval remaining drowsy and showing muscular tremors. In the carbuncular form the tumours may appear in any part of the body, being preceded or accompanied by fever. When the tongue is affected, the disease is usually known as blain of the tongue, tongue evil, or glossanthrax.

The tumours or malignant pustules are developed in the subcutaneous connective tissue, where this is loose and plentiful, in the interstices of the muscles, and in the lymphatic glands. In the various animals affected they have their special affinities for certain regions, as between the branches of the lower jaw, upper part of the throat, lower porting of the neck, breast, behind the shoulders, back, flank, substance of the tongue, &c. If the part where an anthrax tumour is about to appear is covered with hair, this will be observed to become erect, and if the hand is passed over the part perhaps a slight crepitation will be felt; there is also increased sensibility. In many cases there soon appears a nodosity, simple or multiple, about the size of a small nut and circular or irregular in outline. Ordinary this is little sensitive in itself, the pain the animal experiences being due to the increased sensibility of the surrounding parts. In other instances the tumour suddenly commences in the appearance of a soft aedematous swelling, crepitating and undefined. When the eruption takes this form the tumours are quickly developed, and in a few hours invade all the neighbouring parts, extending in every direction with equal rapidity, —the skin covering them becoming tense and hared like parchment, and cracking on pressure. As they extend they become cold and insensible, a variable number of phlytaenae arise on their surface, and these quickly bursting give issue to a serous irritant fluid. If an incision is made in the swelling at this stage there is no symptom of pain, and a black or reddish serum escapes, extremely foetid and corrosive, which produces a noise as it flows like the crackling of paper or bubbling of boiling water. Sometimes passive haemorrhage ensues after the incision is made, and continues until death.

In whatever form the tumours are developed, their course is always the same, being more rapid the earlier they appear. In from two to eight hours they attain a considerable size, and the tissue mortify as they are invaded. As they are developed the animal seems to become relieved, the fever abates, and the more urgent symptoms vanish. But, when they have attained certain proportions, general symptoms are manifested, and these vary according as the malady is terminate favourably or otherwise. In some rare instances the matter which contitutes the tumours is suddently absorbed, abundant sweats, an increased flow of urine, or a serious foetid diarrhoea, ensue, and the animal promptly recovers. In other cases, by surgical intervention, the evolution of the tumours is limited to a certain extent; they reach the suppurative stage finally disappear. In ordinary circumstances, however, it happens that after the interval which follows the eruption, the organism being incapable of eliminating the morbid element, the tumours vanish; but this is only a transference, for the disease assumes all the grave characters of anthrax fever without local manifestations, the general symptoms reappear, and, running their course with marvellous rapidity, the animal perishes in a few hours.

A form of anthrax affects the horse more especially, and this by some authors has been designated anthrax typhus. It manifests itself locally and generally, and is very fatal (Fleming, Veterinary Sanitary Science and Police, vol. ii. p. 122).

In cattle there is a disease very fatal among young stock, and known to breeders and graziers by various names, the most common of which is "black quarter," which had always been classed among the forms of anthrax until its nature was investigated by Arloing and Cornuvin, wo have termed it symptomatic anthrax (Charbon symptomatique), while by others it has been named anthracoid erysipelas, &c. This is at first a local disease, affecting usually one hind quarter, and occuring among young animals especially, particularly those fed on rich food and thriving rapidly. It also occurs very suddenly, runs its course in a very brief space, and nearly always terminates fatally unless surgical and medical treatment is promptly resorted to. It is caused also by a bacillus or bacterium somewhat different from that of ordinary anthrax.

In splenic fever or splenic apoplexy, the most marked alterations observed after death are—the effects of rapid decomposition, evidenced by the foul odour, disengagement of gas beneath the skin and in the tissues and cavities of the body, yellow or yellowish-red gelatinous exudation into and between the muscles, effusion of citron-or rust-coloured fluid in various cavities, extravasations of blood and local congestions throughout the body, the blood in the vessels generally being very dark and tar-like. The most notable feature, however, in the majority of cases is the enormous enlargement of the spleen, which is engorged with blood to such an extent that it often ruptures, while its tissue is changed into a violet or black fluid mass.

Inculation.—Anthrax in all its forms is an inoculable disease, transmission being surely and promptly effected by this means, and it may be conveyed to nearly all animals either by inoculation or through the digestive organs. The abraded skin is often the channel for the introduction of the bacilli; and persons who handle diseased animals or their products—as flesh, skin, wool, or hair—often die from anthrax, which presents similar symptoms in mankind to those it exhibits in animals. The bacillus of anthrax, under certain condition, retains its vitality for a long time, and rapidly grows when if finds a suitable fluid in which to develop, its mode of multiplication being by scission and the formation of spores, and depending, to great extent at least, on the presence of oxygen. The morbid action of the bacillus is indeed said to be due to its affinity for oxygen; by depriving the red corpuscles of the blood of that most essential gas, it renders the vital fluid unfit to sustain life. Others assert that the fatal lesions are produced by the enormous number so of bacilli blocking up the minute blood-vessels, especially of the lungs, and thus inducing asphyxia.

It was by the cultivation of this micro-organism, or attenuation of the virus, that Pasteur has been enabled to produce a prophylastic remedy for antharax, which has already been demonstrated to be very effective; and his discovery is likely to lead to most important results in procuring protective agents for other similar and fatal disorders in man and beast. Though his discovery was first made with regard to the cholera of fowls, a most destructive dis-order which annually carries off great numbers of poultry, yet as applied to anthrax it has attracted most attention. This so-called attenuation or cultivation of the virus of the disease by Pasteur is effected by growing the bacillus in an albuminous fluid, the preference by being given to chicken-broth which had been previously sterilized by being raised to a temperature of 115º C. This broth is inoculated with a drop of anthrax blood which has been taken with antiseptic precautions from an animal about to die of the disease; it is kept in pure air at a temperature of 42º to 43º C. ; at 45º the process of cultivation will not go on. After a certain time another quantity of broth is inoculated with a drop of the first, and kept under the same conditions ; and so this cultivation is carried on until a sufficient number of generations of the bacilli have been grown and the required degree of attenuation ensured. This is attained by attention to the temperature, allowing a certain interval to elapse between each inoculation of the broth and the number of generations cultivated. The resulting "vaccine," as it has been improperly designated, when inoculated into the body of an animal liable to anthrax, confers immunity from the disease, if certain rules are attended to.





Toussaint had, previous to Pasteur, attenuated the virus of anthrax by the action of heat; and Chauveau has more recently corroborated by experiments the value of Toussaint’s method, demostrating that, according to the degree of heat to which the virus is subjected, so its innocuousness when transferred to a healthy creature. The attenuation of heat, according virus than Pasteur’s broth cultivations.

2. Cattle-Plague or Rinderpest.—The next disease is that which has, since the commencement of the last century, been generally described as "the murrain," but which is now better known as the "cattle-plague" or "rinderpest" (German). While anthrax is, with regard to species of animals attacked, the most universal of all diseases, being transmissible to nearly every living creature, including mankind, cattle-plague is limited to ruminants (oxen, sheep, goats, camels, buffaloes, yaks, deer, &c.). It is an Asiatic malady, and prevails frequently and with great severity in southern Russia (imported), Central China, Burmah, Hindustan, Persian, Ceylon, and the islands in the Indian and Malay Archipelagos. It is only known in Europe as an exotic and imported malady, it has not yet appeared on the American continent, in Australia, in New Zealand, or on the African continent, except in Egypt, into which it has been carried on several occasions, and where, owing to the absence of sanitary measures, it now prevails constantly. It is one of the most infectious and fatal disease of animals—a specific fever which runs its course so rapidly, and attacks such a large percentage of ruminants when it is introduced into a country, that from the earliest times it has excited terror and dismay.

It has been noted that its irruptions into Europe in the earlier centuries of our era always coincided with invasions of barbarous tribes in the east of Europe; and even at a later period the disease accompanied the events of war when troops with their commissariat moved from the east towards the west, or cattle, when they were carried in the same direction. One of the earliest recorded irruptions of cattle-plague into western Europe occurred in the 5th century after the sanguinary invasion of the Huns under Attila, the expulsion of the Goths from Hungary, and the fierce internecine wars of the whole Germanic populatio. The disease appears then to have been carried from Hungary through Austria to Dalmatia, while by Brabant it obtained access to the Low Countries, Picardy, and so on to the other provinces of France. In the curious poem De Mortibus Bovum written by St Severus, who lived at that period, the course and destructiveness of the disease are specially alluded to. Many invasions of Europe are described, and in several of these Britain was visited by it—as in 809-810, 986-987, 1223-1225, 1513-1514, and notably in 1713, 1745, 1774,1799. In 1865 and 1872 it was imported direct from Russia.

Symptoms.—Like some other general diseases, this does not offer any exclusive or pathognomonic symptoms, but is rather characterized by a group of functional and anatomical alterations. An exact knowledge of its symptoms and necroscopical appearances is of the utmost importance, as its extension and consequent ravages can only be arrested through its timely recognition and the immediate adoption of the necessary sanitary measures. Intense fever, diarrhoea, dysentery, croupous inflammation of the mucous membranes in general, sometimes a cutaneous papular eruption, and great prostration mark the course of the affection, which is frequently most difficult to diagnose during life, especially if its presence is not suspected Its introduction and mode of propagation can, in many instances, be ascertained only at a late period, and when great loss many already have been sustained. In the majority of cases the examination of the carcase of an animal which has died or been purposely killed is the best way to arrive at a correct diagnosis. Indeed, this is practically the only certain means of concluding as to the presence of the malady, as in different invasions, and even in different countries and different during the same invasion, there are observed considerable variations in the chief symptoms with regard to their intensity as well as in the secondary symptoms or epiphenomena.

Among cattle indigenous to the regions, in which this malady may be said to be enzootic the symptoms are often comparatively slight, and the mortality not great. So much is this the case that veterinary surgeons who can readily distinguish the disease when it affects the cattle of western Europe, can only with difficulty diagnose it in animals from Hungary, Bessarabia, Moldavia, or other countries where it is always more or less prevalent. In these the indications of fever are usually of brief duration, and signs of lassitude and debility are, in some instances, the only marks of the presence of this virulent disorder in animals which may, nevertheless, communicate the disease in its most deadly form to the cattle of other countries. Slight diarrhea may also be present, and a cutaneous eruption accompanied by gastric disturbance, shedding of tears, and infrequent cough. In the more malignant form the fever runs very high sometimes to 107·6º Fahr., and all the characteristic symptoms of the disorder are well marked, the lesions during life being observed in the cheese-like deposits on the gums, the presence of petachiae on the mucous membranes, discharges from the eyes, nose, and mouth, eruption on the skin, cough and laboured breathing, certain nervous phenomena, and dysenteric dejections. Death generally occurs in four or five days, the course of the disorder being more rapid with animals kept in stables than with those living in the open air, and in summer than in winter. After death the chief alterations are found in the digestive canal, and consist in evidence of inflammation of a more or less acute kind, with ulceration, extravasation of blood, gangrene, &c.. The membrane lining the air-passages offers similar alterations; indeed, all the mucous membranes of the body appear to be involved, and the malady might be almost considered as a malignant infectious catarrhal fever.

Protective inoculation has often been advocated and practised (particularly in Russia) for this disorder, but the advantages derived have not been sufficient to compensate for the danger attending it. Quite recently, Semmer of the veterinary school has made experiments with cultivated or attenuated virus, and so far the results have been encouraging.

3. Pleuro-Pneumonia or Lung-Plague.—The next murrain in importance, with regard to destructiveness, is the so-called "lung-plague" or contagious "pleuro-pneumonia" of cattle.

This disease is particularly interesting from the fact that within less than two centuries it has been spread from a very small area over nearly every part of the world. The earliest notices of it testify that it first prevailed in central Europe, and in the last century it was present in certain parts of southern Germany, Switzerland, and France, and had also appeared in upper Italy. Though Valentine described an epizooty occurring among cattle in 1693 in Hesse, yet doubts have been entertained as to whether it was this malady. It was not until 1769 that it was definitely described as prevailing in Franche-Comté by the name of "murie" From that date down the 1789 it appears to have remained more or less limited to the Swiss mountains, the Jura, Dauphiné, the Vosges, Piedmont, and upper Silesia; it showed itself in Champagne and Bourbonnais about the time of the Revolution, when its spread was greatly accelerated by the wars that followed, and the consequent demand for cattle for the commissariat of the contending armies. Since that time the continually increasing commercial relations between various countries have carried it to the ends of the earth, the long duration of latency, and the somewhat slow course of the disorder, eminently adapting it for conveyance to great distances. In this century its diffusion has been accurately determined. It invaded Prussia in 1802, and soon spread over North Germany. It was first described as existing in Russia in 182; it reached Belgium in 1827, Holland in 1833, the United Kingdom in 1841, Sweden in 1`847, Denmark in 1848, Finland in 1850, South Africa in 1854, the United States –Brooklyn in 1843, New Jersey in 1847, Brooklyn again in 1850, and Boston in 1850; it was also carried to Melbourne in 1858, and to New South Wales in 1860; New Zealand received it early in 1864. It has also been carried to Asia Minor, and its presence felt at Damascus. In Austria it is less prevalent than in some other European countries, being scarcely known except in Bohemia, Moravia, and a portion of Tyrol. In Hungary it appears to be almost unknown, in consequence of the minimum importance of foreign cattle; and in countries to which it has been introduced by infected animals it is not seen. In consequence of its insidious invasion, the subtlety of its contagion, and the great fatality attending it, there can be no doubt that it is one of the most disastrous plagues that can afflict a cattle-producing country. Fortunately, unlike the two preceding murrains, it is confined entirely to the bovine species; no well-authenticated instance of its transmission, either accidental or experimental, to other species have been recorded.

In its nature it is a specific infectious disease, generally affecting the lungs and the lining membrane of the chest, producing a particular form of lobar or lobular pleuro-pneumonia, and in the majority of cases, if not in all, it is transmitted through the medium of the inspired air, —hence its localization in the lungs. Inoculation with the fluid from the diseased lungs does not produce any effect on other than the bovine species; but in this its action is most energetic. Producing, after a certain interval, characteristic lesions at the seat of inoculation, the morbid change or infective process soon involves parts beyond, and of not not checked may cost most serious damage and even the death of the inoculated animal; though it does not develop the lung lesions always observed in accidental infection, yet there is a local anatomical similarity or identity.

Symptoms.—The malady is slow and insidious in its course, lasting from two to three weeks to as many months, the chief symptoms being fever, diminished appetite, a short cough of a peculiar and pathognomonic character, with quickened breathing and pulse, and physical indications of lung and chest disease. The progress of the malady is marked by exacerbation of the symptoms, and towards the end there is great debility and emaciation, death generally ensuing after hectic has set in. Recovery is somewhat rare.





The pathological changes are generally limited to the chest and its contents, and consist in a peculiar marbled-like appearance of the lungs on section, and fibrinous deposits on the pleural membrane, with oftentimes great effusion into the cavity of the thorax.

Willems of Hasselt (Belgium) in 1852 introduced and practised inoculation as a protective measure for this scourge, employing for this purpose the serum obtained from a diseased lung; and his success was so marked that he made known his procedure. Since that time inoculation has been extensively resorted to, not only in Europe, but also in Australia and South Africa ; and its protective value has been generally recognized. When properly performed, and when certain precautions are adopted, it would appear to confer immunity from the disease. The usual seat of inoculation is the extremity of the tail, the virus being introduced beneath the skin by means of a syringe or a worsted thread impregnated with the serum. One or two drops are sufficient to cause the local and constitutional disturbance which mark successful prophylactic infection. A particular micro-organism has been discovered in the diseased textures and fluids of animals affected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia, which has supposed to cause the malady. It has been cultivated, and inoculation experiments have been made with it. The intravenous injection of the virus has been found to be a safer method of conferring immunity than inoculation beneath the skin, and quite as certain a method.

4. Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Epizootic Aphtha, Eczema epizootica), if we were to judge by the somewhat vague descriptions of different disorders by Greek and Roman writers, has been a European malady for more than 2000 years. But no reliance can be placed on this evidence, and it is not until we reach the 17th and 18th centuries that we can find trustworthy proof of its presence, when it was reported as frequently prevailing extensively in Germany, Italy, and France. During this century, owing to the vastly-extended commercial relations between every civilized country, it has, like the lung-plague, become widely diffused. In the Old World its effects are now experienced from the Caspian Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It gradually extended towards Britain at the commencement of this century, after invading Holland and Belgium, and about 1839 appeared in England, where it was immediately recognized as a new disease; it quickly spread over the three kingdoms. From the observations of the best authorities it would appear to be an altogether exotic malady in the west of Europe, always invading it from the east; at least, this has been the course noted in all the principal ;invasions. It was introduced into Denmark in 1841, and into the United States of America from Canada, where it had been carried by diseased cattle from England. It rapidly extended through cattle traffic from the State first invaded to adjoining States, but was extinguished, and does not now appear to be known on the American continent. It was twice introduced into Australia in 1872, but was stamped out on each occasion. It appears to be well known in India, Ceylon, Burmah, and the Straits Settlements. In 1870 it was introduced into the Andaman Islands, where it had previously been seen, by cattle imported from Calcutta, where it was then prevailing. There is evidence that it is common in then prevailing. There is evidence that it is common in South Africa, and is frequently epizootic there, causing great inconvenience, owing to the bullocks used for draught purposes, which travel great distances unfit for ; work, by which traffic is much interfered with. These cattle also spread the contagion. It is not improbable that it also prevails in Central Africa, as Schweinfurth alludes to the cattle of the Dinkas suffering from a disease of the kind. Though not a fatal malady, and in the majority of cases readily amenable to treatment, yet it is a most serious scourge. It is transmissible to nearly all the domestic animals, even mankind sometimes becoming infected, but its ravages are most severe among cattle, sheep, and pigs, Since it was introduced into the United Kingdom it has proved more disastrous on the whole, perhaps, than any other murrain, and has most injuriously affected agricultural interests. What makes it more serious is the fact that one attack is not protective against another, an animal sometimes being affected a second time within a few months.

Symptoms.—This is an eruptive fever, characterized by vesicles or blisters in the mouth, sometimes in the nostrils, and on parts of the body where the skin is thin and least covered with hair, as well as usual, suffers, much pain and inconvenience, loses condition, and, if a milk-yielding creature, gives less milk, or, if pregnant, may abort. Sometimes the feet become very much diseased, and the animal is so crippled that it has to be destroyed. It is often fatal to young creatures. It is transmitted more especially by the saliva and the discharges from the vesicles on the feet and udder, though all the secretions and excretions are doubtless infective, as well as all articles soiled by them. The disease can be produced by injecting the saliva intravenously.

These are the best-known murrains affecting cattle; but there are others which, though they cannot be noticed here, are of some moment. One in particular demands most serious consideration, the disease known as "consumption," "pining," and (from the appearance of the morbid growths in the chest) "grapes," and to the medical and veterinary pathologist as "tuberculosis." It is a highly-infectious disorder in cattle, is becoming very common among the improved breeds, and causes heavy losses in dairy stock. It has been experimentally demostrated that the tuberculous matter, as well as milk and the juice of the flesh of diseased cows, when given to healthy animals or inoculated in them, will produce the malady, and this leads to the grave question as to the danger incurred by mankind through the consumption of the flesh and milk of tuberculous cows. This is a pressing sanitary problem which demands early solution.

Prevention of Murrains.—The legislative measures necessary for prevention or suppression of murrains are based upon the fact that diseases depend for their extension solely upon their contagious properties. The object is, therefore, either to prevent the admission of the contagious principle, i.e., through diseased animals or articles which have become infective by contact with them, or to destroy it as quickly as possible. The necessity for this is abundantly evident on every page in the history of these scourges. It is almost impossible to realize the loss and embarrassment caused by cattle-plague, lung –plague, and foot-and-mouth disease only. By the first-named murrain it has been estimated that the loss in Europe from 1711 to 1796 only was 200,000,000 head of cattle. And in this century the disease has not been less severe, though its opportunities for extension, much greater than before, have been much diminished by the progress made in veterinary science. From 1841 to 1844 Egypt lost 400,000 head of cattle; and 1,000,000 perished in Russia in 1844-1845. From 1849 to 1863 the Austrian states lost 258,107. In Hungary from 1861 to 1867 this steppe murrain appeared in 680 communes having a bovine population of 908,209; 25 per cent. Were attacked, and of these 145,474 or 63·9 per cent. were lost In 1880-1861 Austria lost 4800 cattle; and in Russia 183,678 died in 1860. In 1865-1866 Great Britain is supposed to have lost 233,629 head, valued at from five to eight millions of pounds, though this is probably far below the actual figure; and figure; and Holland, receiving the infection from England, at this time lost 115,000 cattle. In 1870 Germany reported 8122 as dead from rinderpest; and during the Franco German war, when the disease was introduced into France by the German troops, the Bas-Rhin department alone lost 6104 cattle and sheep at the period of the invasion, and 582 cattle and 944 sheep when the troops returned, the amount of indemnity paid for cattle destroyed being 1,622,249 francs, while in Lorraine 5000 cattle and more than 3000 sheep, and in the Haut-Rhin 14,000 cattle perished, the compesation to cover this loss being estimated at 1,500,000 francs. In August 1873 thirteen governments in Russia were invaded by rinderpest, and it was computed that 18,000 animals were attacked, 14,000 of which died or were destroyed.

These figures give but a faint idea of the appalling destruction wrought by rinderpest; and lung-plague, though its ravages are not so striking or immediate, has been scarcely less formidable. For instance, in Holland in 230 parishes the average yearly loss has been reckoned at 49,661. In 705 parishes in Würtemberg 1706 stables contains 10,214 cattle; of these 4200 were attacked, and 2583 were killed or died. In France, according to published statistics, the Nord during seven consecutive years was 11,200 in a bovine population of 280,000—or a total in nineteen years of 218,000 head, the estimated value of which was fifty-two millions of francs. In the departments of Aveyron, Cantal, and Lozère the average loss for a long time was not less than 35 per cent. of the entire cattle. In Australia the losses caused by it during thirteen years were supposed to be at least 30 to 40 per cent. of the whole number of cattle, or about 1,404,097 head, which, if valued at only £6 each, would amount to about £8,500,000. Only a very imperfect notion can be formed of the destruction it has caused in Great Britain and Ireland since its introduction; but for the six years ending with 1860 it has been calculated that there perished considerably more than a million of cattle in the United Kingdom, the

Value of which must have amounted to more than twelve millions of pounds. From 1863 to 1866 the death-rate from the scourge was from 50 to 60 per cent. annually.

The deaths from foot-and-mouth disease vary in number at different outbreaks, and are much less than in the invasions of steppe murrain and lung-plague. The most serious feature of this murrain is its affecting a large percentage (frequently nine-tenths) of the ruminants and pigs on a farm or in a district. In 1839, in a district in Würtemberg comprising about 8 square miles and containing 11,000 head of cattle, only 1300 or 12 per cent. escaped ; in the arrondissement of Mülhausen, Alsace, containing 32,000 animals, in 1862-3-4 only 4000, or one in eight, were not attacked; in the department of the Nord in 1839 of 277,000 cattle 120,000 were affected, more than one-half of the sheep, and one-fifth of the pigs. In Baden in 1864 of 607,825 cattle 139, 995 were 139,995 were infected. It is scarcely possible to arrive at anything like a correct estimate of the number of cattle affected during any particular outbreak in Britain. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to assert that 150,000 or 200,000 suffered from the disease in 1872, and from 1839 up to 1874 it was estimated that the money loss it caused the country was £13,000,000, but this is probably far below the mark. It has been calculated that the loss experienced from an outbreak in Baden in 1869 was no less than £103,000, and for the southern states of Germany £833,000. France is supposed to have lost from this disease, among cattle only, iu twenty years £4,000,000.

When it is considered how rapidly animals lose condition, especially fat stock; what losses occur when it appears among milch cows and those in calf, or amongst oxen used for draught, and among sheep, pigs, and poultry; what embarrassment it may occasion to agriculture and the cattle and milk trade, not to speak of the expense of curative measures, —it will be seen what a serious murrain this is, even under the most favourable circumstances. It is still more so when it assumes a severe character, which it often does, and is likely to be accompanied by complications. The great rapidity with which it spreads greatly increases these losses. In a very few months it has been observed to enter the eastern frontiers and spread over a large portion of the continent of Europe, infecting Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, and Belgium, and reaching England, always following the course of cattle traffic.

These examples and estimates afford after all only a very faint notion of the devastation, misery, embarassment, and loss that murrains occasions, and it is this which has compelled enlightened Government to adopt severe measures for their extinction, or at least limitation. These measures are successful in proportion as they are well devised and energetically carried out, for all the murrains or contagious diseases are perfectly amenable to control, and may even be totally suppressed by international agreement and combined action. There is reason to hope that this most desirable result will be ultimately attained, but at present it is a long way off—some infected countries, in consequence of imperfect measures or the absence of any veterinary sanitary police, proving a standing menace to others which are either free from infection, or are energetically endeavouring to get rid of it. The measures now in force may be said to be interdiction of the importation of cattle countries in which cattle-plague, foot-and mouth disease, or contagious pleuro-pneumonia is prevalent, or compulsory slaughter at the ports of debarkation. In some of the infected countries, as in the United Kingdom, where foot-and-mouth disease and contagious pleuro-pneumonia are always more or less prevalent, infested cowsheds, farms, or districts are rigorously isolated, so far as the movement of animals from them is concerned, none being allowed to leave until the disease has been suppressed, and cattle-markets or fairs may be close for a certain period. In contagious pleuro-pneumonia, diseased animals and those which have been in contact with them are slaughtered, and compensations allowed the owner for the latter by the local authorities, while measures of cleansing and disinfection are enforced. The movement of cattle in, into, and from the infected area is closely watched to extinguish the contagion as speedily as possible by prohibiting communication between sick and healthy animals susceptible to the malady, and so preventing the formation of new infectious centres. Evasion or infraction of the legislative orders in force for suppression of contagious diseases in animals is punishable by fine or imprisonment. (G. FL.)



The above article was written by: George Fleming, LL.D.



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