The Delhi High Court on Friday said that the lumpy skin disease situation is concerning and the matter should be heard expeditiously. Noting that a large number of cattle have succumbed to the disease in the state, the court issued a notice to the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation regarding the matter.
“As deaths of a large number of cows are taking place, the matter deserves to be heard at an early,” the court said, adding that the matter will be heard on October 14.
The PIL filed by social activist Ajay Gautam moved in the Delhi High Court on September 29 and had directions to the city government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for taking immediate remedial measures to deal with the disease.
He had argued that about 70,000 cattle heads have died so far due to the disease, which has spread to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. “This disease has knocked the doors of Delhi too, and has started affecting cows in the national capital. The infected cows need medical treatment at the earliest. This disease can turn into an epidemic. Therefore, immediate action is needed for stopping the spread of this disease among the cows,” the plea read.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month said the Centre along with states is making efforts to control lumpy skin disease in cattle.
What is Lumpy Skin Disease?
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a viral ailment in cattle transmitted by blood-feeding insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and ticks. It causes fever, nodules on the skin and can cause death, more so if the cattle has not been previously exposed to the virus.
According to the Centre, the disease is characterised by mild fever for 2-3 days followed by the development of stiff, round cutaneous nodules on the skin all over the body. Symptoms may include lesions in mouth, pharynx and respiratory tract, emaciation, enlarged lymph nodes, oedema of limbs, reduction in milk production, abortion, infertility and sometimes death.
Prevention and Control
Two institutes of agri-research body ICAR developed an indigenous vaccine ‘Lumpi-ProVacInd’ for Lumpy Skin Disease in cattle. Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department Secretary Jatindra Nath Swain in a statement last month said that states are currently using the ‘goat pox’ vaccine to control lumpy skin disease and the commercial launch of a new vaccine ‘Lumpi-ProVacInd’ will take the next “three-four months.”
The Centre issued an advisory to states on various preventive measures as well as isolation of the affected animal to prevent future LSD Incidences. These are:
Control of animal movement – In order to minimize the economic impact of the outbreaks and to control LSD, the movement of animals to and from the infected area and from affected states should be completely banned. This will check the transmission/spread of LSD.
Restriction with affected animals and persons dealing with such animals – Movement of people to and from the affected area should be restricted. The animal handlers and those attending to the affected animals should be advised to keep away from healthy animals.
Vaccination – The infected villages be identified so that precautionary plans are carried out in a specific area and ring vaccination carried out in villages upto 5 km around the affected village. Cattle and buffaloes should be vaccinated with available Goat pox vaccine (cattle and buffalo at the age of 4 months and above through S/C route) with 10 3.5 TCID50 of GTPV vaccine (Uttarkashi strain). However, affected animals should not be vaccinated.
- Immediate isolation of sick animals from healthy animals. Symptomatic treatment of affected animals may be carried out with all precautions and biosecurity measures. Feeding of liquid feed, soft feed and fodder is recommended.
- Clinical surveillance against LSD in affected districts and around surrounding villages should be intensified.
- The buffaloes should be kept separately till complete recovery of the affected animals if reared together.
- Disinfection of premises at regular intervals.
- Ecto-parasiticide should also be applied to healthy animals on the infected and on surrounding farms.
- The persons dealing with the infected animal should wear gloves and face masks and carry out hygenic and disinfection measures at all times.
- Care should be taken to report any unusual sickness of other animals to the nearest veterinary Hospital/Dispensary.
- Hygiene practices should be followed at the animal farm and by the people in areas where animals are infected.
- Farms with affected animals should be visited regularly by the field veterinarians until all the cases are recovered. The veterinary staff should take all precautionary hygiene measures to avoid further spread of disease to other farms/households.
- In case of mortality, carcass should be disposed of by deep burial method observing all hygienic measures.
- Cattle markets located within 10 km radius of the epicentre of infection should be closed.
- Trade of live cattle, participation in fairs, shows should be banned immediately upon confirmation of the disease in the affected areas.
- Semen from LSD affected animals should not be collected and processed for production and distribution.
Vector control: Control of vector population (ticks, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, midges) in the premises and the animal body should be carried out using the insecticide, repellents and other chemical agents.
Disinfection and cleaning measures: Affected Premises, vehicles plying through the affected animal holdings should be carried out with appropriate chemicals / disinfectants [Ether (20%), chloroform, formalin (1%), phenol (2% /15 minutes), sodium hypochlorite (2-3%), iodine compounds (1:33 dilution) and quaternary ammonium compounds (0.5%)].
Awareness programme: Mass awareness campaign to be taken up to make the public aware of the disease and report to the veterinary authority immediately when suspected cases are detected.
Here’s how states are battling the surge in cases of Lumpy Skin Disease:
The Delhi government began vaccinating cattle to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease in late September. The government adopted a ring vaccination strategy in which healthy cattle in a 5-km radius of the affected areas will be given goat pox vaccine with the Uttarkashi strain of the virus.
The Maharashtra government had, in early September, declared the entire state as a “controlled area” restricting movement of cattle and ban on animal fairs etc. State animal husbandry and dairy development commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh on Friday said as many as 2,528 heads of cattle have died due to lumpy skin disease in Maharashtra.
“Jalgaon has seen 421 deaths, followed by 393 in Akola and 252 in Ahmednagar. The remaining deaths are from 27 districts, excluding Mumbai urban and suburban districts and a few others,” he said.
A total of 17,553 cattle were affected by the lumpy skin virus and of them, 15,073, which is 86 per cent, have recovered from the disease, said R K Mehiya, director of the veterinary and dairy department. At least 291 cattle have succumbed to the disease in the state since August. Since the viral outbreak in July, laboratories had confirmed the presence of lumpy virus in 14 out of the total 52 districts in the state.
Union Animal Husbandry Minister Sanjeev Balyan said problem of lumpy virus is more serious in Rajasthan. The state government has sanctioned Rs 30 crore for purchase of vaccines and medicines to prevent to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease among cattle.
To check the spread of the disease, the state animal husbandry department has issued an advisory to all 24 districts and asked them to send samples, if any such case of lumpy skin disease is reported in their respective areas.
The Uttar Pradesh government recently banned cattle trade with four neighbouring states and imposed a ‘lockdown’ on the intrastate movement of animals from 28 districts to prevent the disease from spreading.
The state’s animal husbandry department has said that the spread of the virus has slowed down over the past couple of weeks following several measures including a large-scale vaccination drive. According to reports nearly 200 veterinary officers and 550 livestock inspectors were involved in the treatment and vaccination efforts.
(with inputs from agencies)