PESHAWAR: The livestock department on Monday disclosed that lumpy skin disease had partially affected 25 districts with the mortality rate reaching five per cent.

It also said there was a high likelihood of the infection spreading in the province due to the arrival of sacrificial animals in large numbers for the imminent Eidul Azha festival.

The information was shared with participants of a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan here, according to an official statement.

The meeting was called to examine the latest incidence of lumpy skin disease in the province as well as the steps being taken for its control and prevention.

The participants included finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, chief secretary Dr Shehzad Bangash, principal secretary to the chief minister Amjad Ali Khan, secretary of the livestock department Mohammad Israr and other relevant officials.

It fears arrival of sacrificial animals for Eid can spread infection

Officials of the livestock department told the meeting that the province’s first case of lumpy skin disease was reported in DI Khan in April and thousands of animals had been infected with it in different districts since then.

They highlighted the measures being taken to contain the skin disease and informed the other participants that the task force on infection prevention and control had been established at the provincial level, while animal checkposts had been established at provincial and district entry points.

The officials also said anti-tick spray was used on around 0.8 million animals to prevent their infection.

They said 274,000 doses of vaccine against lumpy skin disease had been procured and supplied to the affected districts, while a mobile app had been developed for the speedy reporting of lumpy skin disease cases.

The meeting decided that the required funds would be provided to the livestock department on urgent basis for purchasing more vaccines against lumpy skin disease.

The chief minister directed the relevant authorities to ramp up efforts to stem the spread of the cattle disease and introduce an effective mechanism for its all-time monitoring.

He also asked the finance and livestock departments to finalise matters related to the early release of funds required to purchase cattle vaccines.

Mr Mahmood said his government would provide all required resources to the authorities for the elimination of that skin disease on a priority basis.

A senior official of the livestock department later told Dawn that lumpy skin disease was mostly found in cows with buffaloes being infected with it rarely.

He said most of the infection cases reported in the day came from Dera Ismail Khan district (150) followed by 123 in Kohat, 80 in Lakki Marwat, 54 in Torghar, 45 in Karak, 37 in Haripur, 30 in Bannu, 23 in Charsadda, 21 in Bannu, 12 in North Waziristan and four in Mardan.

The department’s data shows that lumpy ski disease has so far killed 167 cows in the province since its outbreak in April, while the cases totalled 7,194. Of them, 2,397 head of cattle have recovered from the infection and 5,219 are under treatment.

The department has vaccinated 121,164 animals and used anti-tick spray on 721,914 and sprayed chemicals on vehicles transporting animals and animals premises.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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