INDIA - Already struggling to arrange for fodder for cattle even as the state reels under severe drought conditions, the state government is faced with another huge problem – the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) among the cattle and other hooved livestock across Karnataka.
According to BangaloreMirror, the sudden FMD outbreak has occurred in 11 districts of the state; but what has emerged as a grave threat is the large-scale mobilisation of cattle to state-run ‘goshalas’ for want of fodder – which could easily spread the highly contagious FMD among the cattle across the state, threatening to wipe out a considerable cattle population.
FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease that affects the cattle and cloven-hooved ruminating animals. The disease spreads very quickly if not controlled. The severe symptoms include fever; blisters in the mouth, feet and teats; drastic drop in milk production; weight and appetite loss; quivering lips; frothing in the mouth; and even lameness.
The disease, which has gripped the state in panic, has already claimed the lives of 10 cattle and forcing the state government to shut down two ‘goshalas’ to contain the spread of the disease, that is also threatening to affect the state’s milk production. (Goshalas are protective shelters for cows/cattle).
The situation is compounded by complaints pouring in from members of the farming community over quality and dependability of vaccines supplied to check the spread of FMD even as the disease is rampantly being diagnosed among already vaccinated cattle.
Prompted by the newfound threat, the animal husbandry department has not only decided to compensate the death of livestock due to the disease across all its ‘goshalas’, but has also promised to commission a team of experts to ascertain the quality of FMD vaccines besides posting a veterinarian at each ‘goshala’ to monitor the health of the cattle.
The state government, which was completely engrossed in arranging for fodder for the thriving cattle population, was alerted about the FMD outbreak by various dairy units of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF).
BangaloreMirror also reports that dairy units in Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Hassan, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar reported FMD cases and brought that to the notice of the animal husbandry department.
In a swift move, samples were sent to the Animal Diseases Surveillance (ADS) wing of the veterinary department at Hebbal, which also confirmed the FMD outbreak.
According to a copy of the report submitted to the government by the ADS wing, as many as 11 districts reported FMD outbreak.
“The disease has spread across Karnataka, especially in South Interior Karnataka. The highest incidence is seen in Chikkaballapura district in five out of six taluks followed by four taluks of Kolar and three taluks of Ramanagara and Bengaluru Rural…,” the report said.
A farmer leader from Kolar attributed the outbreak to poor quality of FMD vaccines. “The FMD has been detected even in those cattle which have been previously vaccinated. We felt that there is problem in the vaccine supplied to cure/prevent FMD. We have submitted a memorandum to the KMF and animal husbandry department to conduct an inquiry into the quality of the vaccine,” said the farmer leader who wished not to be named.
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TheCattleSite News Desk