Sachindra Pratap Singh, commissioner of the state’s Animal Husbandry Department, said no geographical separation is being considered as far as cattle vaccination is concerned. “Just like rural areas, urban centres too are on priority for vaccination,” he said.
Singh said out of more than 11,000 infected cattle, half are oxen and the rest are cows. “There are very few cases of buffaloes getting the disease,” he said.
Singh also said there has been no sharp drop in the state’s milk production.
“It is business as usual in areas that depend mainly on buffalo milk. I would like to reiterate that there is no harm in drinking cow or buffalo milk. The virus does not spread through milk,” he said. The PCMC’s assistant commissioner Sachin Dhole said the five cases identified are from Talawade and Charoli areas.
“We have asked for at least 4,000 doses of the goat pox vaccine, as the cattle population here is around 3,500,” Dhole said, adding that they will be surveying cow sheds in the area soon.
So far, cattle infections have been detected in 1,229 villages in 27 districts. Out of 11,251 infected livestock, 3,855 have recovered after treatment.
In South Maharashtra, officials have reported a total of 27 cattle deaths. Satara district has reported the highest number of casualties (15). After Satara, Kolhapur has reported nine deaths with some 108 cases (76 active) and third on the list is Sangli, with 105 cases and three deaths.
Officials urged cattle owners to be cautious.
“They must ensure that cattle are not transported. The sheds should be kept free of flies, mosquitoes and other carriers. Dead animals should be buried in pits eight to 10 feet deep. Chemicals should also be dusted on the layered soil,” said Kolhapur collector Rahul Rekhawar.