CUTTACK: Brucellosis, an infectious disease that can spread from animals to humans, is beginning to manifest itself in a bigger way in Odisha, prompting the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services wing to launch a State-wide programme to control its spread.
The incurable bacterial infestation in animals, primarily cattle, buffalos, sheep and goats, has been endemic in four districts of Koraput, Bargarh, Rayagada and Sambalpur and has spread to more areas like Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Nabarangpur, Jajpur and Balangir in recent years. Thus, a large chunk of the population could be exposed to the transmissible disease, which in humans is known as Mediterranean fever, Malta fever or undulant fever.
According to case reports, nearly three per cent of 5247 blood samples from different districts tested positive for Brucellosis in 2013-14 while in 2014-15, it was around 0.44 per cent of 3541 samples. In 2013-14, Bargarh, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur and Nabarangpur reported majority of cases while the next year, Balangir, Jajpur and Koraput had the most positive.
The disease in animals causes abortion and lifelong infertility as the bacteria cannot be killed or removed from the bodies. This results in major economic losses in terms of yielding calf and milk, wool, meat and skin.
Humans affected by the disease show symptoms of low grade fever, develop joint pains leading to spondylitis and orchitis. In severe cases, Brucellosis may cause infection of the central nervous system, liver abscess and infection of the lining of the heart valve. Persons may also develop chronic fatigue syndrome leading to disability.
In animals, the bacteria is transmitted through grazing, feed and water contaminated by discharges from the infected, mucous membranes, contact with aborted foetus or infected newborn calves. Movement of contaminated tail also is a common means of transmission.
Humans can be infected by consuming unpasteurised milk or undercooked meat of infected animals and also coming in close contact with the animals. One can be infected through a cut or scratch and mothers with Brucellosis may also pass the bacteria to children while breastfeeding. Livestock farmers, dairy workers and veterinarians are at greater risk even as common citizens can also be exposed due to unchecked contact with domesticated animals roaming freely not only in villages but also on the roads of cities and towns.
The Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) has launched the Brucellosis Control Programme (BCP) and a sero-surveillance study to determine the prevalence rate across all 30 districts. Under the BCP, more than 50,000 calves will be vaccinated in 60 villages of 30 districts during this year while training programmes are being organised for veterinarians on prevention of the infection, Deputy Director, ADRI Dr BK Parida said.
- The incurable bacterial infestation in animals has been endemic in Koraput, Bargarh, Rayagada and Sambalpur
- It has also spread to Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Nabarangpur, Jajpur and Balangir in recent years
- A large chunk of the population could be exposed to the transmissible disease
- Humans can be infected by consuming unpasteurised milk or undercooked meat of infected animals and also coming in close contact with the animals