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Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in eleven districts

Preliminary investigations indicate that foot-and-mouth disease has spread to Kerala from cattle brought from outside the State. A file photo of cattle from Tamil Nadu being brought to the Thenmala cattle market in Kollam district.—Photo: C. Suresh Kumar  

With the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease getting confirmed in Kerala, entry of cattle (cows, bulls, and buffaloes) from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu into Kerala has been banned.

V. Brahmanandan, Director, Animal Husbandry Department, told The Hindu that the ban will be in force for seven days from October 2. All border check- posts of the department have been notified of the ban and a red alert has been sounded in all panchayats. The outbreak has been confirmed in eleven districts except Kasaragod, Malappuram, and Pathanamthitta.


The death of a good number of cows in the State of late has now been attributed to foot-and-mouth disease. Department sources said that only about 20 of these cows had been vaccinated and the owners of these animals are eligible for a compensation of Rs.16,500 each. Sources said that many farmers are reluctant to vaccinate their cows because of a transient decrease in milk production after vaccination.

Dr. Brahmanandan said the outbreak of the disease has been confirmed in neighbouring States also and it is feared that cattle that contracted the disease may be sent to Kerala, to be slaughtered and sold as beef. Preliminary investigations by the department show that the disease has spread to Kerala from cattle brought from outside the State.

More than 10 lakh cattle are brought to the State a year, mainly for abattoirs. The seven-day ban is poised to create a shortage of fresh beef in the State.

Emergency measures

Dr. Brahmanandan said that in view of the situation, emergency measures have been taken to intensify vaccination. Whether the ban has to be extended beyond seven days will be decided by a high-level meeting next week.

Senior veterinary surgeon and pubic relations officer of the department B. Aravind said that it is the ‘O’ strain, out of the known five common strains, which has caused the present outbreak, caused by virus. The symptoms include high temperature, shivering, and salivation. During the terminal stage, lesions appear on the foot and mouth and death is caused by pasteurellosis.

District Animal Husbandry Officer (Kollam) P. Vimala said the outbreak of the disease in the district was first reported a month ago from Kulathupuzha and Yeroor close to the Tamil Nadu border. The worst areas in the district are Adichanallur, Nedumpana, and Thrikovilvattam panchayats.

Dr. Vimala said that in view of the situation, all cattle shows and rallies scheduled in the district have been banned until further notice.