Guwahati: A new worry for farmers in Assam is a different kind of infectious disease among cattle that has spread in different parts of the state.
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an infectious viral disease of cattle and buffaloes caused by the Capripox virus of family Poxviridae. It is transmitted by arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks.
“We have reports of cattle being infected by the disease from three districts namely Kamrup, Cachar and Hailakandi,” said Dr Prodeep Kumar Gogoi, deputy director of Animal Health Centre at Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, Khanapara.
The disease which originated in Africa has now spread across Europe and parts of Asia. In India, it was first reported from Odisha. Since May, there has been an increase in the number of cases in India with reports coming from Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
The disease is characterised by mild fever for 2-3 days followed by development of stiff, round cutaneous nodules on the skin all over the body. Symptoms may include lesions in mouth, pharynx and respiratory tract, reduction in milk production, abortion, and infertility.
“After samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security of Animal Diseases, Bhopal for tests, the report came out and the disease was detected as LSD,” said Dr Gogoi.
“Although infected animals often recover within a period of 2-3 weeks, there is reduction in milk yield in lactating cattle for several weeks. The morbidity rate is around10-20% and mortality rate is around 1-5%,” Dr Gogoi told EastMojo over phone.
An advisory for the disease was sent to all the district veterinary officers from the Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Department, Khanapara in the month of July for creating awareness and giving necessary advice to the farmers.
It lays down guidelines for clinical surveillance, prevention and control, awareness among farmers, treatment and also disposal of carcass of LSD-affected cattle.
“There is a vaccine to prevent the disease but is currently unavailable in India, however, we are conducting research in coordination with College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara to devise a treatment of our own,” Dr Gogoi said.
Expressing serious concern over the issue, senior journalist and writer, Mrinal Talukdar, tweeted, “The new epidemic ( LSD) has hit cattle of Assam. It is very important to create awareness with farmers and awake our government. Experts have requested to buy goat pox vaccines from other states. This is the only way to stop this epidemic.”
“Please act quickly. If this LSD going to spread amongst the cattle like the swine flue of pigs, then it is going to catastrophe for the farmers of Assam. Moreover, cattle has a special place in every home. Get the vaccines very soon and go war footing,” he added.