Cattle-rearers advised to be on guard

The Forests Department feels immensely relieved that there has been no case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among animals in the wild.

“We are fortunate that no case of FMD has been detected among the animals in the wild with cloven foot,” District Forest Officer of Sathyamangalam and Deputy Director of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve K. Rajkumar told The Hindu.

There was a scare a month ago when six Indian Gaurs were found dead near Karalayam on Kadambur Hills. Subsequently, it was found that they were poisoned by a poacher.  

“Once the prevalence of FMD in Karnataka was known, the Forest Department prevailed upon the Animal Husbandry Department to carry out vaccination of cattle in villages on the fringes of the forests,” Mr. Rajkumar said.

‘O’ type strain

The Veterinary University Training and Research Centre (VUTRC), Erode, had earlier issued an alert that the fast-travelling virus had a 250 km range. Animals with cloven foot, especially elephants and deer, were at risk, the VUTRC, Erode, had cautioned.

The tests on cattle in the district that died of FMD had indicated affliction of the animals with ‘O’ type strain.

According to Animal Husbandry department officials, cattle-rearers should be on guard with preventive mechanisms since the virus would be in the air for a year and could attack animals when their immunity level came down.

On its part, the VUTRC completed sensitising farmers in Erode to the need for vaccinating their cows every six months as FMD outbreaks occurred once in four or five years. The farmers have been told that the virus mainly affected cross-bred animals that were reared in large numbers in the district for higher milk yield.

Vigil in Mudumalai

Udhagamandalam Special Correspondent adds:

Official sources at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris said tight vigil was being maintained to prevent any incidence of foot-and-mouth disease.

The vigil has been on for the last one month at check posts in Thorapalli, Kakkanullah, Masinagudy and Paatavayal to prevent entry of cattle into the MTR.

Residents of 22 villages near the MTR were sensitised to the problem.

Their cattle had been vaccinated by a team of veterinarians.

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