In Jammu and Kashmir so far, the government has said.
While 89 of them have died, a majority of 28619 animals have recovered, thus far. Also importantly 213250 doses of vaccine have been administered to the cattle across J&K.
The vector-borne lumpy skin disease (LSD) is far from being controlled and continues to spread, affecting animals, mostly cows, across the country and J&K is no exception. Though the mortality rate of LSD is not high, the experts continue to underline that animals infected with this disease are unable to produce enough milk even after they are cured of infection. In essence, the dairy farmers may be hit economically as it affects the milk yield as well as the fertility. Symptoms of the disease include fever, loss in milk production, nodules on the skin, nasal and eye discharge, etc.
The government after initial easy-going manner acted within reason dispatch and issued a notification under Section 6 of Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009 declaring nine districts of J&K as “controlled areas” for the purpose of the Act.
The administration in some districts also banned the movement, transportation of dairy animals from one place to another. The movement of all trucks, tractor trolleys and other vehicles carrying cattle in, or out or within the particular district stands stopped.
The administration also constituted two dedicated task forces, one each for Kashmir and Jammu divisions to monitor the spread of the disease in real time and suggest strategies for its control.
These task forces are headed by scientists from SKUAST K/J along with other members from Animal Husbandry departments. Awareness about preventive steps and preparedness should be continuously spread. The government must employ all means to ensure large-scale awareness as well as measures such as vaccination at war footing basis to prevent further spread of the disease. It is imperative that the infected animals are isolated from healthy stock. Also the farmers, as directed by the government, need to establish close liaison with Animal Husbandry Authorities and cooperate fully in control and immunization programs.
As stressed by Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture Production Department (APD), Atal Dulloo, the officers need to keep a control on movement of animals besides ensuring maximum vaccination to the migrating animals so that further spread of the disease is prevented. There is need for strict adherence to proper protocols of treatment as per the recommendations by government of India. As stressed by the ACS, concerned officers should implement all the guidelines of Government of India in letter and spirit to contain the disease.