Several states of the country are facing a major viral outbreak of lumpy skin disease which has put authorities all over the country on high alert; the virus has so far killed 80,000+ cattle all over India. The disease is usually spread by blood-feeding insects like mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps by direct contact and also through contaminated food and water.
The disease is characterized by the development of nodules in the skin, which may cover the whole of the animal’s body, and lesions are often found in the mouth and upper respiratory tract.
The disease was first reported in Gujarat’s Kutch region for the first time in April and since has rapidly spread to states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab among others. Rajasthan is the worst affected state where the number of deaths of cattle is 600-700 per day while other states are reporting less than 100 cattle deaths per day.
Rajasthan has witnessed a milk production decline of over 21% for August indicating the severity of the outbreak. A senior official of Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation (RCDF) said the outbreak has affected milk production, and the collection across the state has been reduced by 5-6lakh liters per day.
A matter of concern is the fact that the genome of the virus causing the current outbreak showed little similarity to global genomes or when compared to genetic sequences from earlier outbreaks of the disease.
The BJP held a protest in Jaipur against the Congress government in the state for their inability to tackle the same CM Gehlot has said that the vaccines for the viral disease have to be given by the Centre. “I called a meeting on August 15 regarding lumpy skin disease and called the leaders of the opposition, talked to everyone, talked to the religious leaders, our priority is how to save the lives of cows from lumpy skin disease, but the central government will give the vaccines and medicines,” tweeted Gehlot. In Maharashtra, the government has formed a state-level task force to control the spread.
Warning: Viewer’s discretion advised