The situation in the State following the outbreak of Foot-and- Mouth Disease (FMD), which led to the death of nearly 1,500 bovines, continues to be grave, as experts are of the view that there are no preventive measures that work.
“There are no preventive measures as it is an air borne disease. It is spread by a micro virus. Therefore, the immunity through vaccination may not be proper. It has also been found that the immunity attained through high quality virus has the life of only four months. But vaccination is normally given once in every six months,” said Jacob Alexander, veterinarian of the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo.
As many as 15,000 animals have been infected after the outbreak which began in August. FMD has proved fatal for 1500 animals, as per the details available from the disease control wing of the animal husbandry department. The department had been on its toes after the outbreak, as controlling it continues to be a Herculean task. The disease hit the whole of South India and transmitted to the state from animals brought from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu via border check posts. Wayanad, Idukki and Palakkad were the districts which were initially affected. The disease soon spread to other parts of the state.
At Devikulam in Idukki two bisons were fatally affected by the disease. Kottayam was the last district to be affected by it and situation in Palakkad and Kottayam still continue to be serious. The animal husbandry department has been carrying out ‘ring vaccination’ - which brings an entire panchayat under vaccination so that the disease wont spread outside it - for better results. The department has issued strict guidelines for slaughter houses, which are functioning in highly unhygienic conditions. “Slaughter houses are fast spreading the disease. The animals there have been identified and vaccinated,” said J Chandramohan, Goraksha project coordinator (animal disease control). Vaccination was also undertaken in routes were cattle are transported.