In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared rinderpest eradicated. This cattle virus, which has historically had significant political, economic, and social consequences, is only the second infectious disease to disappear from the face of the planet due to concerted human actions. This paper explores the effects that rinderpest has had historically, chronicles the actions of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (GREP), and discusses the lessons that GREP can offer for combating other infectious diseases. I argue that rinderpest's unique viral characteristics made eradication particularly feasible, but that GREP's activities offer important lessons for fostering international cooperation on controlling infectious disease outbreaks.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1