Mysterious disease kills over 200 sheep in Tirunelveli

Carcasses of sheep at Rengasamudhram near Tirunelveli.  

Outbreak of a mysterious disease has killed over 200 sheep in the district even as the shepherds are facing huge loss due to this rapidly spreading disease with more number of sheep are battling the illness reportedly caused by suspected viral infection.

Since the dropping of goat and sheep is excellent manure, the shepherds would have the sheep pens in the farms and the fields ahead of every paddy season in the district. When farmers rearing goat and sheep in Marudhakulam, Moolaikkaraipatti, Munanjipatti, Paruththipaadu, Rengasamudhram and other adjoining areas are taking their flock, each having 150 to 1,000 animals, around Tirunelveli and create pens in the fields, a mysterious disease has started ravaging the sheep over the past 25 days.

After sudden swelling in the eyes of the animals, the infected sheep suffer frothing in the mouth. And, the affected animals die within a couple of days even as the infection is spreading rapidly in the flock.

“We suspected it to be a kind of sheep pox for which the animals were vaccinated 10 days ago by the veterinarians. However, we continue to lose the sheep even after the vaccination,” says shepherd S. Ganesamurthy and Thirumalai Nambi of Moolaikkaraipatti.

Farmer R. Gopalakrishnan from Rengasamudhram, who is rearing over 1,000 sheep, has so far lost 58 animals to this mysterious disease. “A total of 28 more animals are dying gradually with the symptoms of this disease,” he weeps.

Even though the farmers isolate the infected animals from the flock, 15% of the animals in every bunch have contracted the infection. The farmers claim that they had not witnessed such a devastating infection over the past 35 years.

“This is not a kind of pox, as being suspected by the veterinarians of the Department of Animal Husbandry. The officials, with the help of the Veterinary College and Research Institute at Ramaiyanpatti, should have collected the blood samples of the infected animals to pinpoint the exact reason behind this infection. Unfortunately, none has turned up so far to rescue us,” said shepherds Palavesam of Rengasamudhram and Kandan of Paruththipaadu.

The Joint Director, Department of Animal Husbandry could not be reached for his comments. The faculty of the Veterinary College and Research Institute too said that they had not received any information from the animal husbandry department seeking their help.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 8:22:49 PM |

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