RAWALPINDI, Oct 3: As Eidul Azha is approaching fast, sacrificial animals have started reaching the city from various parts of the country.
However, the district health and livestock departments have failed to start vaccination of the animals to prevent the spread of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever commonly known as Congo fever. This is despite the fact that two cases have so far been reported in the Rawalpindi division.
Visiting the city bazaars, one can see herds of cows, bulls, sheep and goats arriving in the city but the city government has not yet finalised the venues for the establishment of cattle markets. The herds were witnessed at Raja Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Banni Chowk, Saidpur Road, Pirwadhai and adjoining areas in the morning.
The arrival of the animals created hurdles in the smooth flow of traffic but the city mangers have also turned a blind eye to the issue.
Health experts and Punjab agriculture department had warned the city government last month to make proper arrangements against the spread of Congo fever. They also advised the CDGR to take preventive measures and keep the sacrificial animals outside the city before being vaccinated.
Congo fever is a tick-borne viral disease found among domestic and wild animals that can also be transmitted to humans. It may be noted that in Rawalpindi, two confirmed Congo fever cases have been detected. One patient died while the other is still hospitalised.
An official of the health department said injection to avoid the Congo virus in animals would be administered two weeks before Eidul Azha. He said the agricultural department would have to start the work.
“Today is Ziqa’ad 15 and only 25 days are left for the Eidul Azha, there is a dire need to complete the vaccination within a week,” he said.
On the other hand, District Officer Livestock Liaquat Ali told Dawn that his department had started the spray in private houses in villages where people kept milch animals and cattle. “The injections are being administered to the animals at private houses but the department will start the vaccination and spray in the cattle markets when they are set up by the CDGR,” he said.
Executive District Officer Health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal was not available for comment. However, an official requesting not to be named told Dawn that no plan was made for the sacrificial animals as the staff was busy in dengue spray and polio vaccination.
Rawal Town Administrator Saif Anwar Jappa said they were waiting for the policy guidelines from the Punjab government for the establishment of cattle markets in or outside the city.
“We have a place at the newly-establish slaughter house at Railway Road and if the government allows the TMA, cattle market will be set up there,” he said and added that the TMA would not allow the establishment of cattle pens within the city.