The viral disease has spread to over 37,000 animals and is now present in 14 districts in Gujarat. Young calves are most susceptible to severe symptoms.
Nearly 1,000 cattle, predominantly buffaloes and cows, have died across the western state of Gujarat. A total of 999 cattle have so far died from lumpy skin disease, the state’s Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Raghavji Patel said on July 26. The viral disease has spread to over 37,000 animals and is now present in 14 districts in the state.
What's the disease?
Lumpy skin disease is a viral bovine disease caused by a virus belonging to the same family of viruses that causes smallpox and monkeypox. The disease results in fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules across the surface of the skin. These nodules also form on mucous membranes inside the body and as on organs like the eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, udder and genitalia.
The virus spreads through blood-feeding insects like ticks, mosquitoes, flies, lice, wasps and more. The disease can also spread through bodily fluids like blood, nasal discharge, lacrimal secretions, semen and saliva, and through infected milk to suckling calves.
As a result, young calves are most susceptible to severe symptoms but the disease spreads through all age groups easily. Along with fever during the onset of symptoms, the cattle also experience a swelling of limbs. The disease also causes chronic debility, reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility, abortion, and sometimes death, leading to severe economic implications.
Where has it spread
The disease has already spread to Gujarat's 14 districts — Kutch, Jamnagar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Rajkot, Porbandar, Morbi, Surendranagar, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Banaskantha and Surat. "The disease has been observed in 880 villages, with 37,121 animals treated for it," Patel added.
The minister stated that 2.68 lakh animals have been vaccinated to prevent the further spread of the disease. Other preventive measures, like fumigation with insecticides, have also been undertaken. A total of 152 veterinary officers and 438 livestock inspectors from the animal husbandry department have undertaken a campaign to survey, treat and vaccinate against the disease. A special control room has also been established at the GVK-Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), Ahmedabad.