Delhi government is taking measures to control the spread of lumpy virus as at least 173 cattle have been found infected with the disease in south and south west parts of the capital, general administration minister Gopal Rai said on Saturday.
No cattle deaths have been reported in Delhi so far, Rai said. Several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand, among others, have been facing cattle mortality due to spread of lumpy skin disease.
“In the past few days, symptoms similar to infection of lumpy virus have been found in cattle of Delhi,” the minister said. “45 cases in Goyla Dairy area, 40 cases in Rewla-Khanpur area, 21 cases in Ghoomanheda area, 16 cases in Najafgarh and single cases in several villages have been identified.”
Lumpy skin disease is a viral infection that affects cattle and is transmitted by flies and mosquitoes and ticks. It causes fever and nodules on the skin and can lead to death.
The animal husbandry department has set up mobile veterinary clinics, a special isolation ward and a 24*7 emergency helpline number to combat the spread of infection, Rai said. He chaired a meeting on Saturday to review preparedness and implementation of measures to arrest the spread.
“So far everything is under control. Two mobile veterinary clinics are being sent to affected areas. People can also contact on 8287848586 as 24*7 helpline for treatment of infected cattle. 11 rapid response teams have been formed for the treatment of infected cattle which will also collect samples and four teams for raising awareness among farmers and cattle herders,” Rai said.
The animal husbandry department has set up an isolation ward in Rewla Khanpur to treat infected and suspected infection cases. As many as 40 cows have been shifted to the centre, which has the capacity to accommodate 4,500 cattle, an official said, requesting anonymity.
People do not need to panic as the lumpy virus has no effect on humans. Infected cattle have shown symptoms like high fever, watery eyes and running nose, an official of the animal husbandry department said. “Their entire skin gets covered with spots. They drool excessively and there is a sharp drop in milk production and the weight of the cattle. Lumpy virus does not merely spread from touching. The carriers of this disease are mosquitoes, flies or any other organism which sucks blood and then transmits it to other cattle,” he said, declining to be named.
Cattle owners should isolate all those that have shown symptoms, Rai said. “You can isolate them in your house or at a cow shelter so that we can stop the disease from spreading further. The caretakers of the cattle can contact the veterinary clinics if they find them to be symptomatic,” the minister said. “Our teams which will go from village to village and spread awareness in people for effective management.”
The government has issued an advisory for cattle owners, listing nine key measures to control the spread. They include ensuring hygiene, not moving infected cattle outside, hand sanitization by caretakers, use of disinfectants to kill mosquitoes and flies, nutritious food to infected, isolated cattle, and in case death, burying the cattle with salt and lime. People should contact the emergency helpline in case a cattle is ill, not try to treat the cattle on their own and consult a vet, the advisory said.
On April 23, lumpy skin disease case was reported first this year in Gujarat, which has seen over 4,000 cattle deaths. Rajasthan has reported around 27,000 cattle have succumbed to the virus. Since 2019, outbreaks of the disease have been reported in 20 states. The Union ministry for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying on Thursday said that the outbreak had spread in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and around 57,000 cattle have died till Thursday due to the disease.