ISLAMABAD: As the presence of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) affecting the cattle has been confirmed in five cities of Sindh and Punjab, the federal government is making urgent arrangements to import LSD vaccines.

Presiding over a meeting to curb the spread of LSD amongst cattle and buffaloes on Wednesday, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam urged the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to allow import of LSD vaccines immediately.

Animal Husbandry Commissioner Dr Mohammad Akram informed the minister that 500,000 vaccines needed to be imported to tackle the spread of disease. The LSD only affects cattle and buffaloes and certain wild animals, which has been confirmed for the first time in Pakistan through clinical and laboratory diagnosis, he said.

The ministry of national food security and research has confirmed the presence of LSD in Bahawalpur, Karachi, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, and Thatta, stating that the LSD affects only cattle. The disease is caused by a virus which spreads through bites of mosquitoes, tsetse flies, and ticks.

The LSD has no public health implications because it is not transferred to humans. Boiled milk and well-cooked meat from the affected cattle are safe for human consumption, the ministry said.

Sindh Minister for Livestock Abdul Bari and secretaries of livestock of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan attended the meeting besides Animal Husbandry Commissioner Mohammad Akram.

The meeting was briefed that hot spot of LSD spread areas were being cordoned off to control further spread. At least 7,500 personnel are trained to administer the vaccine to the animals in Punjab, Mr Fakhr Imam was informed.

A representative from Punjab briefed the meeting that the province currently has approximately 250,000 goat pox vaccines which can be used as an alternative to the LSD vaccine. He said that production of goat pox vaccine has been increased by Punjab to meet the demand of Sindh and other provinces as well.

Sindh Minister Abdul Bari said that Sindh has started an awareness campaign to dispel rumours about the LSD disease. He said a taskforce has been set up to control the spread of the disease in the province.

When a member of the committee drew attention towards eruption of the LSD in Sindh, the ministry of national food security said it had established various response centres in all provinces and monitoring the situation closely.

About 18,300 animals have been affected.

The committee said an awareness campaign should be initiated, highlighting symptoms and precautions for protection of animals.

It considered the ‘Pakistan Food Security Flow and Information Bill, 2021’ and the ‘Pakistan Tobacco Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, and after detailed deliberations recommended that the bills may be passed by the National Assembly.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2022

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