The dreaded Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) that played havoc on India’s cattle population has again started rearing its ugly head with 10,413 active cases as on May 18 with Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Karnataka leading the way.
According to a senior official, the disease has been detected in 8 states since January 2023.
A jump has been seen in the last few weeks, but officials said it is stabilising.
Of the 10,413 active cases as on May 18, around 2,245 cases are in Uttarakhand, while 3,450 cases are in Maharashtra and 3,960 cases have been detected till date in Karnataka since January.
The remaining cases are in the states of Sikkim, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Since January 2023, in the second round, around 1.87 million doses of vaccines have been administered to the animals.
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These are mostly goat pox vaccines which have an efficacy of 60-70 against LSD. The indigenous vaccine, especially developed for Lumpy, will take another 6-8 months to get commercialised and is in the final stages of approval, the official from the Department of Animal Husbandry said.
In Uttarakhand, where the active cases have shown a surge till May 18, around 58 per cent animals have been vaccinated in the second cycle, while another 359,928 doses of vaccines are available with the state government.
“In some districts such as Uddham Singh Nagar, almost 100 per cent animals have been vaccinated while in Rudraprayag, almost 75 per cent animals have been vaccinated,” the official commented.
“Being a vector borne disease, Lumpy cases usually start rising with the advent of summers and peaks during monsoons and immediately after that,” the official said.
The central government, a few weeks back, held a high level meeting with state officials, directing them to increase surveillance of cattle and activate their district-wise monitoring plans. These include regular testing of 10 per cent samples and segregation of animals whenever positive cases are detected.
Earlier in March, in order to prevent a recurrence of the death and destruction seen last year, the Centre had directed states to complete the preventive vaccination drive at the earliest apart from other remedial steps such vector management in high risk areas, sanitary and hygiene in cattle.
“While no permanent and 100 per cent effective cure for LSD is known till date, vaccination is an effective option for prevention of LSD. Accordingly, States and UTs are advised to immediately start preparations for annual preventive vaccination of susceptible and eligible cattle populations against LSD as per the control guidelines circulated to the states and UTs,” the Central advisory had said.
It added that proper liaison may also be established with panchayat and municipal bodies and local administration for strict implementation of biosecurity and sanitary measures including vaccination, movement control of animals whenever required.
LSD, a contagious viral infection that affects cattle and causes fever, nodules on the skin, and also leads to death, was first reported in 2019 in the state of Odisha.
After that, it has spread to multiple states in the country. Last year, it played havoc in Rajasthan and Gujarat leading to large-scale morbidity in the cattle population.
Last year, according to official records, around 3.35 million animals got infected due to LSD. Of these, around 198,000 animals died, while 3.15 animals recovered from the disease (94 per cent was the recovery rate). The government administered around 59 million dosages of mostly goat pox vaccine to control the spread.