250 head of cattle affected; four deaths confirmed

Over 250 head of cattle in Cuddalore district have been affected by foot and mouth disease, out of which four have died.

According to statistics available with the Animal Husbandry Department, a total of 39 deaths were reported. As many as 14 carcasses of cows were brought to the department and four were confirmed to have died of the disease, which has spread to 17 villages in the district.

The head of Veeranam Lake Farmer’s Association, K.V. Elankeeran, however, says that the statistics available with the department are inaccurate. There are several people who do not report death of their cattle to the department. Only farmers who have insurance for their cattle heads inform the department, he says.

According to his estimate, there are many more deaths because of foot and mouth disease or ‘Komari’ as it is known. This is prevalent in Kollida karai area, which borders Nagapattinam district. There are some very small villages in that district, and farmers generally prefer to bury their cattle as soon as the animals die rather than waiting for the Animal Husbandry Department staff to arrive.

Foot and mouth disease typically affects Jersey Cross, Holstein Friesian Cross and other hybrid cows. If not treated at the earliest, it would lead to death in adult cows. Calves that drink milk from affected cows are also affected and die soon, veterinarian Sundar says. Unfortunately, there is no way of confirming if the large number of deaths are because of foot and mouth disease, as autopsy is needed to confirm it, he says. The disease started in Nagapattinam and has spread to neighbouring villages in Cuddalore district. The department is now enforcing stricter action at district level and the disease would be controlled in a week, said Ganesan, Joint Director in-charge of the Animal Husbandry Department.

It is suspected that foot and mouth disease (which is a viral disease) is accompanied by Hemorrhagic Septicaemia, which is a bacterial disease. This might be the cause for mortality, he adds.

Cattle owners who suspect their animals might have been affected by foot and mouth disease can contact the Animal Husbandry Department between 8 am and 6 pm at 04142-293211.

More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL