Nearly 1,200 bovines have perished in western and northern Rajasthan, where an outbreak of the contagious lumpy skin disease has been reported. The outbreak, which has threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of cattle herders, has been spreading at an unrelenting pace.
Nearly 25,000 cattle have been infected in a span of three months, animal husbandry department officials said, adding that a total of 254 cattle have died in Jodhpur alone in the last two weeks.
The animal husbandry department has advised herders to isolate their cattle isolated to protect them from getting infected. The department has also mobilised teams of doctors in the affected areas.
The disease, which has its origins in Africa, came to India via Pakistan in April. The infection was initially reported in border districts like Barmer and Jaisalmer. However, subsequently, the disease has now spread to Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jalore, Nagaur, Hanumangarh and other districts.
To note, Jodhpur and Bikaner divisions, which together constitute ten districts in western and northern Rajasthan, have around 1,400 Gaushalas.
Dr Arvind Jaitelay, Deputy Director (Disease Control) in the Animal Husbandry department, said that the disease is mainly affecting cows, particularly the indigenous ones, and that department’s teams are already working in the affected areas.
The disease is rapidly spreading among cows with low immunity, he said, adding that there is no treatment for lump disease. The primary symptoms of the disease are high fever, runny nose and pox on the skin.
Sanjay Singhvi, Joint Director (Animal Husbandry)-Jodhpur, said that veterinary teams had been camping in the affected villages providing treatment.
Singhvi further said that 5-10 per cent of the total cattle population of the district had been infected by the lumpy disease. A department team from Jaipur met their counterparts in Jodhpur to provide insight to the local team into the disease and its prevention.
BJP MLA from Raniwara (Jalore) Narayan Singh Dewal wrote to the state animal husbandry minister on Friday and demanded that medicines in adequate quantity and a special team of doctors should be made available to Jalore district in view of the disease outbreak. In his letter, he pointed out that one cattle rearer in his constituency had lost 60 cows to the disease while several more are grappling with the deaths of their cattle from the disease.
Seeking urgent attention from authorities, Alok Singhal, secretary of Pathmeda Gaudham in Jalore, said that the condition in villages was pathetic and spreading very fast. Union minister of state for agriculture Kailash Choudhary informed the Indian Agriculture Research Institute scientists had been sent to study the disease in western Rajasthan.