Lumpy skin disease outbreak: Non-availability of vaccine rattles cattle owners in Haryana

Updated on Aug 12, 2022 02:57 AM IST

Amid the outbreak of lumpy skin disease among bovines, the non-availability of goat pox vaccine and scarcity of government-appointed veterinarians has left farmers high and dry, forcing them to approach private veterinary clinics that charge an exorbitant fee for their services

As per the state animal husbandry and dairying department 7,182 cattle have been contracted lumpy skin disease in Haryana. (HT File)
As per the state animal husbandry and dairying department 7,182 cattle have been contracted lumpy skin disease in Haryana. (HT File)
BySunil Rahar, Rohtak

Amid the outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) among bovines, the non-availability of goat pox vaccine and scarcity of government-appointed veterinarians has left farmers high and dry, forcing them to approach private veterinary clinics that charge an exorbitant fee for their services.

Saying that the virus was rapidly spreading among the cattle in his village, Satyvart Singh, who runs a small dairy in Sirsa, said four of his cows had been infected with the viral skin disease, and he was worried that others may contract the disease as well. “Our animals are getting infected and dying due to the disease, but the government and administration have a lackadaisical approach towards vaccinating the animals against LSD. The death of each buffalo is a setback of around 90,000 to 1.25 lakh, while the death of the cow costs us around 55,000 to 80,000. Treatment is not cheap either, costing between 4,000 to 10,000 per animal. The disease will wreck the village economy if its spread is not checked,” Singh said.

“The administration has failed to vaccinate animals or spray disinfectants,” said Ramesh Kumar of Bhiwani, whose herd has not contracted the infection so far as he regularly disinfects the shed.

“Many bovines have contracted the disease in the village. We are fogging and spraying disinfectants to arrest its spread,” he added.

In Sirsa alone, 1,300 cattle have been infected with LSD and 29 animals have reportedly succumbed so far. As per the state animal husbandry and dairying department 7,182 cattle have been contracted the disease in Haryana, and an outbreak has been reported in nearly 482 villages of the state. As per estimated, there are 62.92 lakh cows and buffaloes in the state.

The state government has ordered the procurement of 5 lakh goat pox vaccines. An official of the animal husbandry and dairying department said the vaccination process had been started in some areas of Sirsa and will be started in Bhiwani, and Hisar soon.

LUVAS to start sample testing soon

Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (LUVAS), Hisar, director (research) Dr Naresh Jindal said they will write to the Union government to allow them to test infected cows and buffaloes.“At present, samples taken from cattle to confirm diagnosis are being sent to a laboratory in Bhopal. They are sent to Bhopal through the regional diagnostic laboratory in Jalandhar. We have made all arrangements for testing, and are only waiting for the government’s nod. Once we get approval, LSD samples from Punjab and Haryana can be tested here,” he said. As many as 161 samples from Haryana have been sent to Bhopal.

Survey to assess spread

Jindal said teams from the university were conducting surveys in affected villages in around seven districts, where widespread transmission has been reported.

“We are carrying out awareness drives in a 4km radius of an infected animal,” he said. On whether the milk of an LSD infected cow or buffalo can be drunk, Jindal said the virus has not transferred to humans, but the milk should be boiled properly before drinking .

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