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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Foot-and-mouth disease claims 2,800 cattle in Kerala

PTI  Thiruvananthapuram, December 17, 2013
First Published: 18:57 IST(17/12/2013) | Last Updated: 19:05 IST(17/12/2013)

About 2,800 heads of cattle have died and more than 33,000 bovines have been affected in Kerala with the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which spread across the state in the last couple of months.
 
The total milk production has also affected due to the disease, official sources said.
 
The most number of cases were reported in Thrissur district, followed by Palakkad and Kottayam respectively.
 
State animal husbandry director NN Sasi said, "The disease is under control now due to the quick action and effective precautionary measures. A total of Rs. 50 lakh has been granted for the distribution of medicines and steriliser kits to the owners of affected cattle.
 
"As many as Rs. 1.90 crore has been allotted for providing compensation to those who lost their cattle due to the disease. The distribution of free feed for affected animals also began last week," he said.
 
Adequate amount of medicines have been stocked at veterinary hospitals and arrangements made at the panchayat level to notify every new case of the disease, according to Sasi. Kerala has also initiated strict vigil at the check posts to stop the flow of FMD-affected animals from other states.
 
"Though FMD generally affects bovines, some elephants were also found to have been affected with the disease in the state. Asiatic elephants are prone to the disease," Sasi said, adding, the department had already asked an expert panel of state veterinary university to conduct a scientific study about the real causes of its spread in the state.
 
Director of museum and zoo B Joseph said animals in zoos were safe so far though the disease claimed four deer at the zoological park in Thrissur.
 
"Considering the gravity of the mass epidemic, we expected 30-40% mortality. However, the inmates of Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur Zoos are safe so far," he said.
 
Thrissur zoo was closed recently on the directive of the animal husbandry department and restrictions were imposed on going near the cages of animals, he said.
 
All the cattle, which are reared within the two km radius of zoos, would be vaccinated as part of the precautionary measures, the official said.
 
Meanwhile, the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (KCMMF) said the disease had hit milk production. The arrival of milk from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has also come down.
 
"There used to be an increase in milk production during winter, but there seems to be no such spurt this year. However, we cannot say now that there is a huge decline in the total production," KG Satheesh, senior marketing manager of KCMMF, said.
 
"We used to source 3-4 lakh litres of milk from states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. However, its arrival has dipped drastically with the spread of the disease," the official added.

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