Una/Nurpur, August 7
Residents of the state are alarmed as lumpy skin disease (LSD) is spreading in the areas bordering Punjab, where the infection is growing at an alarming rate. A spike in the number of cases was witnessed in Una district today as 54 new cases were recorded from 20 more villages. A cattle head has succumbed to the infection in the district.
In Una, 101 cattle heads had been infected by the disease in 47 villages, said Dr Rakesh Bhatti, Senior Veterinary Officer at the Una Veterinary Polyclinic, who is also the District Nodal Officer for LSD. He said LSD had been reported in three cattle shelters located at Tatehra in Gagret sub-division, Beetan in Haroli sub-division and Kotla Kalan in Una sub-division. Dr Bhatti said the cow which died today was due to delay in treatment as the farmer failed to report the case to the department when the symptoms first appeared.
In Kangra district, 12 cases were reported in Indora sub-division till Saturday. The first case in the sub-division was reported four days ago at Raja Khasa village. It soon spread to the surrounding gram panchayats. The district Animal Husbandry Department has identified seven epicentres in the district at Raja Khasa, Bhalakh, Bhapoo, Thakurdwara, Churpur and Milwan gram panchayats in Indora sub-division, and Dhaliara gram panchayat in Dehra sub-division.
The department Deputy Director Sanjiv Dhiman said a team from Veterinary Polyclinic, Shahpur, collected blood samples of five infected animals on August 5. These had been sent to the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, he added.
To combat the growing disease, the department may soon launch a vaccination drive. Dr Bhatti said while there is no specific vaccine for LSD, the vaccine used to immunise goats against the goatpox disease works in cows and buffalos for LSD since the causative virus is almost same. He informed that 10,000 vials of the goatpox vaccine have been requisitioned from the state directorate.
The department in Kangra has also sprung into action. Doctors and pharmacists of local veterinary hospitals and dispensaries have been directed to regularly visit the affected areas and sensitise the farmers.
“To effectively check the infection, the department has placed an order to procure vaccination doses for 55,000 animals in the district. Once it’s delivered, we will launch a special vaccination drive,” Dhiman said. He urged the farmers not to panic and take preventive measures such as regular cleaning of cow sheds, and isolating cattle if the disease’s symptoms appear.
Bhatti said the animal takes about 28 days to recover from disease. Even if unimmunised, the antibodies remain in the recovered animal for the next three months.