THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The canine distemper virus, which killed eight jackals and two hyenas in the city zoo, has not affected other animals. The sanitation methods carried out in the zoo have prevented the spread of the virus, claim zoo authorities.
The airborne disease, commonly found in stray dogs, was first reported in jackals. Four jackals died of virus infection, while four were subjected to euthanasia. No jackals or hyenas remain in the city zoo now.
Meanwhile, the zoo authorities are in touch with a Singapore-based company that has agreed to send the vaccine against the canine distemper virus. Zoo director K Udayvarman said: “A Singapore-based company has the vaccination against the virus. They have agreed to send the vaccine. We have applied for the certificate from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).”
Transfer of the live attenuated virus requires DGFT permission. Currently, no vaccination is available in India.
Canine distemper virus attack on zoo animals is being reported in the country for the first time. This makes the task of checking the spread of the virus a difficult task for the zoo authorities.
Some months ago, a number of animals in the zoo had died, the reason for which remained unidentified. Presence of canine distemper virus was confirmed during November last week with the death of three jackals.
The canine distemper virus commonly affects dogs. Jackals and hyenas are close to the canine family and are susceptible to the virus. Cases of the spread of the virus to primates have been reported in China and to bears in American zoos. There is a chance for the virus to affect tigers, lion etc too.
Runny nose, vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration, excessive salivation, coughing, loss of appetite and weight loss are the common symptoms of the disease. The samples collected from the dead animals are being tested at the Chief Disease Investigation Laboratory, Palode. According to the zoo authorities, the virus had spread through stray dogs.