At least 173 cases of lumpy skin disease have been found among cattle in Delhi, mostly in the southwest district, but no death has been reported so far, authorities said Saturday.
This is the first time the Delhi government has reported cases of lumpy skin disease in the city. A senior official said the first case was detected around eight to 10 days ago and “no death has been reported so far”.
The government will adopt the ring vaccination strategy in which healthy cattle in a 5 km radius of the affected areas will be given goat pox vaccine with the Uttarkashi strain of the virus, he said.
Lumpy skin disease is a contagious viral disease that spreads among cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps by direct contact, as also through contaminated food and water. The disease causes fever and nodules on the skin, and it can be fatal.
According to the Centre, the disease has spread in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh and 57,000 cattle have died due to it.
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Addressing a press conference, Development Minister Gopal Rai said 45 cases of lumpy skin disease have been detected in the Goyla dairy area, 40 in Rewla Khanpur area, 21 in Ghumanhera and 16 in Najafgarh.
He asked owners to isolate cattle showing symptoms of the lumpy skin disease, which may include high fever, reduced milk production, skin nodules, loss of appetite, increased nasal discharge and watery eyes, among others.
Rai said people fear that this disease can also spread to humans. “We need to take precautions but experts have said the lumpy virus has not caused any problems to humans so far.”
He said the Delhi government has deployed two mobile veterinary clinics and set up 11 rapid response teams to collect samples. Four teams will make people aware of the virus.
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The city government has also set up a special control room with helpline number 8287848586 for queries related to the disease.
An isolation ward has been set up in Rewla Khanpur Gau Sadan in southwest Delhi for stray cattle suffering from lumpy skin disease, Rai said.
The senior official said the virus has been found in 40 stray cows which have been shifted to the isolation ward. The cow shelter can accommodate 4,500 cattle. The isolation ward has been set up away from healthy cattle and mosquito nets have been installed there.
“In Delhi, the disease is unlikely to spread to proportions seen in other states as the number of cases is low and manageable. We have responded promptly and taken all the necessary steps to curb the spread,” he said.
Another official said the virus doesn’t normally lead to the death of cattle and the mortality rate is just one to two per cent. The high number of deaths in Rajasthan and Gujarat could be due to poor health of those cattle and the development of secondary infections, he said.
“Deaths are unlikely if the infected cattle are isolated and proper care is taken. Wounds should be disinfected regularly,” the official said.
Rai said the government is starting a ‘Jan Jagriti Abhiyan’ to create awareness about the disease.
He said the caretakers should ensure cleanliness around the cattle, keep their hands sanitised, use disinfectants regularly to kill mosquitoes and flies, keep the infected cattle in isolation and give them nutritious food.
“In case of death of infected cattle, bury them in the ground with salt and quick lime. Contact the emergency helpline in case your cattle is ill. Do not treat your cattle on your own and take advice from a veterinary doctor,” the minister said.