The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the State has affected cattle in about 500 villages in 11 districts; the cattle toll has exceeded 800.

While the mortality has come down in the past few days, many head of cattle that have been affected continue to be under surveillance, an Animal Husbandry Department official has said, adding that the vaccination drive has not only been taken up for foot-and-mouth disease, but also for haemorrhagic septicaemia. It could take a few more days to bring the outbreak under control and the disposal of carcasses is being monitored to prevent contamination.

In Bangalore, intensive vaccination has been taken up in 35 villages bordering Bannerghatta National Park, and a similar number around Hesarghatta where the Animal Husbandry Department has breeding stocks. A 10-kilometres radius is treated as zero-outbreak zone to prevent the spread of disease. “If the disease spreads to wild animals in the national park, it would be difficult to contain it. Similarly, cattle production in the State could be affected if the bulls in the centre are affected,” sources said.

Meanwhile, a senior official said that there was no shortage of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine in the State.

Cattle and zoo animals that died of foot-and-mouth disease over the last few months had contracted the ‘Type O’ strain, which is one of the four commonest strains of the disease in the country.

Indicative of inefficient administration of the annual vaccination programme, rather than the emergence of a resistant or new virus, all samples sent to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAH&VB) have tested positive for Type O, said sources at the institute.

Two more dead at zoo

Meanwhile, two more zoo animals, a nilgai and a bison, died of the disease at Bannerghatta Biological Park over Friday and Saturday. This takes the toll at the zoo to six animals, including three spotted deer.

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