111 heads of cattle infected with the disease in the outbreak
Three heads of cattle have died and 111 have been infected with the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the district. Of the three deaths reported so far, two cases were from Antaragange village in Bhadravathi taluk and one from Genasunakuni village in Sagar taluk. Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry R.R. Ravindra told The Hindu the situation in Bhadravathi and Sagar taluk was being closely monitored. Veterinary officers were regularly visiting the affected villages, he said. A diary owner in Genasinakuni village had purchased 10 cattle of Holstein Friesian (HF) breed from Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu in the first week of September, of which one cattle was infected with FMD. This resulted in the outbreak of the disease there. A Jersey cow, belonging to Raghupathi in Genasinakuni, had died of the disease, he said.
The Department undertakes vaccination drive against FMD in two phases every year. The first phase of vaccination would be held in February and March and the second phase in August and September. During the recent vaccination drive in the district, 84 per cent of cattle had been covered. Of the 7.78 lakh cattle in the district, 6.28 lakh were vaccinated during this period. The department had taken initiatives to vaccinate the cattle that had not been covered in this period, he said.
Mr. Ravindra said the situation was under control in the district now. Malnad Gidda breed formed the major chunk of cattle population in the district. Research had shown that native cattle breed had a high level of resistance against FMD. Infection was not spreading in the district owing to the presence of large number of native cattle breeds here, he said.
Farmers say that the actual number of deaths was much higher than the official figures. Three calves owned by Ravi, a resident of Antharagange village in Bhadravathi taluk died last month. “The calves died due to high fever, a symptom of FMD. Officials of the Department of Animal Husbandry had no clue then that that it was FMD. After the calves were dead and buried, the officials of the Department of Animal Husbandry contacted me to collect their blood samples. It was unfortunate that the three deaths would not be recorded as FMD toll,” he said. Mr. Ravindra said, the officials quickly respond to complaints. Blood sample of the infected animals would be sent for testing at the regional laboratory of the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals in Shimoga.
Farmers engaged in dairy farming had suffered a huge loss due to FMD. Sundaresh, a milk producer from Holehonnur told The Hindu , “I used to supply 90 litres of milk to Shimoga Milk Union Limited (SHIMUL) daily. Four of my cattle are infected with FMD owing to which the daily milk production has come down to 20 litres,” he said.