(Eds: Updates with minister's quotes)
New Delhi, Jul 25 (PTI) The Centre is closely monitoring the spread of lumpy skin disease in cattle amid the death of nearly 1,000 cows and buffaloes in Gujarat.
Special teams have been sent by the Centre to Gujarat and Rajasthan to review the situation and measures taken to control the lumpy skin disease (LSD).
There have been reports of the spread of LSD in the cattle population in these two states.
"About 33,000 cattle are infected, over 900 cattle have died of this disease in Gujarat alone. Its presence has also been found in Rajasthan," Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala told PTI.
A central team has been deputed to Gujarat to control and prevent the spread of the disease, he added.
On steps to prevent the spread of the skin disease in cattle, the minister said currently cattle are being isolated and even vaccination is underway at full speed.
Advisories have also been issued to all states alerting about the disease in cattle, he added.
Animal Husbandry and Dairying Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said it is basically an infection that affects the skin of the cattle. This disease has been affecting cattle for some time in the country.
A set of protocols is in place for controlling and preventing the disease in cattle, he added.
Earlier in the day, a senior official said the ministry has deputed central teams to visit Rajasthan and Gujarat for the review of containing and controlling operations of the LSD in cattle in these two states.
The teams are holding visits from Monday.
The Gujarat government on Sunday said that a total of 999 cattle, especially cows and buffaloes, have died in the state due to the disease.
Lumpy skin is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps by direct contact among the cattle, and through contaminated food and water.
The main symptoms are fever in animals, discharge from the eyes and nose, salivation from the mouth, soft blisters like nodules all over the body, reduced milk production, and difficulty in eating, which sometimes lead to the animal's death.
The official said that the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) under the ministry is keeping a close vigil on the status of the disease in various states.
The LSD was initially reported in Odisha in September 2019. The disease, since then, has been further reported from 22 states and UTs of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, NCT-Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Rajasthan and recently in Punjab.
The department has issued regular and repeated advisories with guidelines to states and UTs.
Immediate and proactive steps to control LSD have been suggested to the states and diagnostic laboratories.
The states have been apprised of the precautions and actions to be adopted to contain and control the disease by holding meetings and webinars.
The official said that directions were issued to ICAR-NIHSAD, Bhopal and ICAR-NIVEDI Bangalore to carry out the epidemiological investigation in the affected states.
The department has also issued advisories to all states/UTs for taking biosecurity measures and necessary advice to all stakeholders including farmers.
The ring vaccination strategy was communicated to be carried out in and around the affected area with available Goat pox vaccine (Uttarakashi strain) in cattle and buffalo.
The centre is also providing assistance to the affected states for undertaking trainings and vaccination as per the demand submitted by the states. PTI LUX MJH MR