KOCHI: In an attempt to prevent a major outbreak of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), the Animal Husbandry Department will conduct a vaccination drive in the district from January 14 to 21. This will be the 25th phase of vaccination drive named ‘Goraksha’ launched in the state since 2014.
The campaign will be inaugurated by Tripunithura Municipal Chairperson Chandrika Devi at a function to be held in Tripunithura on January 14. As part of the vaccination drive, around 1.25 lakh animals including cows, buffaloes and pigs will be vaccinated. Special squads comprising around 250 officials, who received training from the department, will visit each house and conduct camps at different parts of the district. To vaccinate `10 will be charged for each animal. The vaccinated animals will be ear tagged.
District Chief Veterinary Officer Sheeba Isaac said FMD is a communicable disease that spreads through air, water and from direct contact. “FMD put a great financial burden on livestock farmers. The disease reduces milk production and affects the health of the cattle,” she said.
FMD preventive vaccination is given twice a year. Dr Eppan John, senior veterinary surgeon, Kuthattukulam, said some farmers are hesitant to get their animals vaccinated. They believe that FMD still spreads to the vaccinated animal. “There are seven distinct types of viruses that causes FMD. The vaccination can prevent three types. However, vaccination makes a major difference in the spread of the virus. Farmers also believe that the milk production will be low for some days after vaccination is taken. However, in the long term the vaccination will prevent greater financial loss for the farmers,” he said. According to him, in foreign countries culling method is preferred to control the spread of FMD. “However, in a country like India, culling cannot be considered. Hence vaccination is the only method to control FMD,” he said.