Maharashtra is facing an outbreak of a debilitating virus among cattle that causes a condition called ‘lumpy skin disease’(LSD). At least 96,000 cattle have been infected by this contagious viral disease across Vidarbha, Marathwada, Gadchiroli and Beed districts, senior officials of the Department of Animal Husbandry said.
According to agriculture university experts, the diseases have infected around 2 lakh animals across the state. Maharashtra has a total cattle population of 1.96 crore. Manik Gutte, joint secretary, Animal Husbandry said that so far two deaths have been reported in Maharashtra and all measures are being taken to stop the spread of the disease.
The virus causes nodules to form on the skin that gradually turns into wounds, with accompanying symptoms such as much lower milk production, but it is rarely fatal, say veterinary doctors. The disease is transmitted in livestock through mosquitoes, flies and gochids. “If infected livestock is found in a village, all animals within a radius of 5 km should be vaccinated immediately and cattle movement should be restricted,” Gutte said.
A special vaccine against LSD is not yet available in the country, the goat cox vaccine is known to be working well against the disease, officials said. Gutte said that usually animals are cured within five days. Around 4.5 lakh doses of the vaccine have been allocated in Marathwada and Vidarbha districts and nearly 1.52 lakh doses have been given to animals. The Department has been issuing advisories from time to time and issuing guidelines in line with the directives issued by the Centre, he said.
“LSD has been discovered in North-Eastern states like Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh earlier. In India, the disease was first reported in Odisha in August 2019. Thereafter the outbreak was also reported in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana goat pox vaccine,” said Dr P T Srinivas, additional director (livestock health), department of animal husbandry and veterinary services.