Foot and Mouth Disease in State Under Control

Published on: 31 Oct, 2013
Published under: Kerala Health News, Thiruvananthapuram District News

30 October 2013

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) which led to the death of more than 200 head of cattle in Kerala has been brought under control, though the virus causing the disease persists in most parts of the State, says the Department of Animal Husbandry. Officials maintain that the disease has crossed its peak and is on the decline, but farmers are concerned.

Most of the 200 dead animals were calves which succumb easily to the deadly virus. Scientists from the Southern Regional Diagnostic Laboratory in Bangalore and the All India Coordinated Research Project on FMD had visited Kerala to support the investigations carried out by the Chief Disease Investigation Laboratory here.

Animal Husbandry Director V.Brahmanandan told The Hindu that the latest outbreak of FMD had affected not only neighbouring States like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but also large parts of India and Bhutan. He said the timely control measures adopted by the department in Kerala had helped to keep the mortality rate down.

FMD usually spreads either through feed or contact with the milker or from animals carrying the disease. Pigs are amplifying hosts for the virus. Wild pigs ravaging crops near human settlements can pass on the virus to cattle. Officials say that cattle bought from neighbouring States or people who milk cows on both sides of the State border could have transmitted the disease.

The department estimates that the current outbreak of FMD is past its peak stage. “Post infection, the cattle population in an area develops immunity. Our experience shows that the field virus is stronger than the vaccine virus,” Dr.Brahmanandan said.


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