The federal government has prepared a national emergency plan worth Rs737 million to combat the spread of the lumpy skin disease in cattle as efforts by the livestock department to contain it yields no notable result.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has drafted a pared-down summary to present before the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet for its approval after its first proposal worth Rs4 billion could not be approved over budget issues.
Under the revised plan, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the provincial, as well as federal institutions, will work jointly to contain the infectious disease.
Also read: Lumpy skin disease
The summary will seek the federal government’s funds to purchase/import vaccines, which will then be distributed to farmers free of charge.
Similarly, sources told The Express Tribune that talks with the World Bank (WB) were also underway for around $30 million in funds to support the federal government’s measures to curb the disease.
The government will conduct the plan for at least one year, following which the WB will possibly take over the programme later in the year if negotiations succeed, they added.
According to the agriculture department, several animals have died of the lumpy skin disease across the Rawalpindi district. Overall, 1,745 animals have been infected and 91 died of the lumpy skin disease in the district so far this year.
According to the official data, 3,000 animals will be vaccinated in the upcoming days. Veterinary doctors said that mosquitos, flies and ticks sitting on sick animals can lead to the spread of the disease in healthy animals.
Also read: Several cattle die of lumpy skin disease
The lumpy skin disease is a capripoxvirus skin disease found in animals. The disease was first detected in Africa in 2012 and has since then spread to countries in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe.
In 2019, the disease spread to China, Bangladesh and India. In 2020, various Asian countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka also fell victim to the disease.
The skin disease is found in animals of all ages and genders, however, small animals are more susceptible to this disease. The symptoms of lumpy skin disease include fever, hyper-salivation, and skin rash. The disease is mainly spread by insect bites such as flies and mosquitoes.
The disease is characterised by a 50mm bulge on the body, head, neck or other organs of the cattle. Grey or yellow fluid oozes out of the bulges which left untreated could turn into sores. In severe cases, the disease could kill animals.
Economic damage is also feared from this disease as it could affect milk production. It is found in cattle in Punjab and Sindh.