According to official figures, 56,146 cattle have been detected with the vector-borne lumpy skin disease (LSD) in Jammu and Kashmir so far. While 1564 animals have perished, the LSD continues to spread, affecting animals, mostly cows, across Jammu and Kashmir.
The government also informed that more than 96 percent eligible cattle have been vaccinated against the LSD.
While the means to contain and manage the disease so far at the pace as warranted by the situation may not have been achieved, nonetheless the government has acted. In a worthy decision, the Administrative Council (AC) headed by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, approved the proposal for provision of free of cost medicines to LSD affected farmers of J&K. The administrative council also acknowledged that the affected farmers are in “distress” due to medical expenses which ranges from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000. The provision of free of cost veterinary medicines to LSD affected farmers would surely ease the financial burden of the farmers for treating the disease.
As soon as the disease started to spread, the government issued a notification under Section 6 of Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009 declaring districts of J&K as “controlled areas” for the purpose of the Act.
The administration has already banned the movement, transportation of dairy animals from one place to another. The movement of all trucks, tractor trolleys and other vehicles carrying cattle in, or out or within the particular district stands stopped with immediate effect.
The government had also constituted two dedicated task forces, one each for Kashmir and Jammu divisions to monitor the spread of the disease in real time and suggest strategies for its control.
While bearing expenses for medicine would provide relief to the “distressed farmers, awareness about preventive steps and preparedness should be augmented. The government must employ all means to ensure large-scale awareness as well as measures such as vaccination in the remaining miniscule percentage of animals to prevent the spread of the disease. It is imperative that the infected animals are isolated from healthy stock. There is need for strict surveillance besides ensuring availability of methylene blue and other drugs which are effective drugs against the disease.
Farmers must pay heed to advisories by experts from SKUAST that they should give recommended treatment to the infected animals for at least 10 days, even post recovery, to prevent death caused due to thromboembolism, i.e. blood clotting.