KOCHI: Just as the state is coming to terms with the health scare caused by novel coronavirus, another virus is now posing a major threat, albeit to milch animals. Capripox virus or lumpy skin disease, which infected at least 265 animals in the district until now, has left dairy farmers here worried.
However, Laiby Paulin, district animal husbandry officer, sought to allay fears saying the outbreak has been contained. “The newer cases show only mild infection,” she said.
She said the disease was first reported at Valayanchirangara, seven km from Perumbavoor, on January 21. “This is the first time the disease is being reported in the country. In the state, the disease was first reported from districts like Palakkad and Kozhikode in November last year,” she said.
“A vector, biting fly (Stomyxos calcitrans), and mosquitoes transmit the disease endemic to African nations like Zambia. The mortality rate is between one to five per cent and the morbidity between 10 to 15 per cent,” Laiby said.
No cattle deaths have been reported from the district due to the disease, which damages hides and leads to loss of milk, abortion and sterility. “Until now, the outbreak has affected cattle in 39 panchayats in the district and 3,500 doses of vaccines were provided,” Laiby said. “The disease starts with fever which lasts two to three days. Nodules measuring 2-5cm appear on the skin. When the infection becomes severe, pus forms in the nodules and causes pain,” she said.
To curb the spread of vectors that spread the disease, the department has recommended strict vector control.