KENDRAPARA: Theileriosis, caused by a blood borne parasite, has struck riverside villages in Aul block where as many as 25 buffaloes have fallen prey to the disease in the last one week triggering panic among locals. Primarily transmitted by ticks, Theileriosis is caused by a species of Theileria.
As people stay in close contact with domesticated bovines in the villages, they have been instructed not to handle the animal carcasses without gloves, said sub-divisional veterinary officer of Kendrapara, Dr Ashis Satapathy.
Locals have also been instructed to bury the carcasses by digging deep holes to prevent the spread of the disease, he said.
The disease was detected after the department tested blood samples of the buffaloes and carcasses at the district diagnostic laboratory.
However, Brajasundar Barik of Ranipokhari village, who lost four of his buffaloes in four days, said the authorities initially did little to curb the spread of the disease which was detected in the first week of March.
“Only after it spread to several villages did the authorities chalk out a plan to check it,” he said.
The disease has affected the villagers who earn their livelihood by selling buffalo milk and milk products. Basant Das of Balakati village, who lost three of his four buffaloes said he used to earn around Rs 10,000 per month by selling milk in the market.
Now with just one buffalo left he is concerned over feeding his family. Similar is the plight of Bharat Barik of Ranipokhari who lost eight buffaloes in a week.
Like Basant and Bharat, the fate of many buffalo owners hangs in balance due to spread of the disease even as the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry directorate has formed rapid response teams comprising veterinary officers, livestock inspectors and village gomitras to treat the buffaloes.
“We have also requested people to keep away from carcasses of buffaloes and inform administration when they spot one. People have also been instructed to keep buffaloes covered with mosquito nets,” Dr Satapathy said.
The disease, so far, is confined to a few villages in Aul block. The Veterinary department had recently convened a meeting to review steps to fight the disease.