Sherpur cattle farmers worried about LSD virus

13 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

SHERPUR: While the human beings are grappling with novel coronavirus, domestic cattle in Sherpur and some other districts of the region are battling against the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a highly contagious disease.

The virus has already infected a good number of cows of the district and claimed the lives of some of them.. In most of the cases, the infected animals are either dying within a few days after developing symptoms, or waiting to embrace death.

Cattle farmers affected by the crisis over coronavirus now got unnerved due to the LSD outbreak as no effective vaccine is available for the virus, reports UNB.

The LSD virus was first reported in Zambia in 1929 and never seen in Bangladesh earlier. When an animal contracts the LSD virus, numerous round lumps become visible on its skin with high fever.

Later, the lumps turn into open sores and spread rapidly to other parts of the skin. At one stage, the sores start to discharge malodorous liquid.

Besides, the cattle got disinclined in taking food and water due to the wounds developed inside the mouth and stomach. At one stage, they have no way but to embrace death.

The Sherpur district has witnessed a massive outbreak of the disease like an epidemic in the last three months.

The farmers in Sherpur as well as other parts of the country are going through severe financial hardship amid the coronavirus fallout. In such a situation, the LSD virus made the situation far worse.

According to local veterinarians, 30 to 40 percent cows in the district are now infected with LSD virus.

District livestock officials said any vaccine for the viral disease is yet to be discovered. That is why; there is no option to treat the infected cattle but to follow local conventional medications.

According to the District Livestock Office, the total number of cows in Sherpur is around 4 lakh. Twelve cows have already died being infected with LSD disease. Aside from these, over 3,000 cows are currently infected with the viral disease in the district. As precaution, around 1.5 lakh cows were vaccinated with Goat Pox Vaccine.

Krishna Ratna, a cattle grower in Nokla upazila, said one of her cows got infected with the LSD virus in recent days.

While visiting her place, the infected cow was seen to develop wounds all over the body. It was struggling to stand due to edematous swelling and was facing breathing complications.

Disclosing her agony, Ratna said she and her rickshaw puller husband are largely dependent on cow-milk selling. Now they are worried about their future. 

“I’ve already spent Tk 10,000 for treating the cow in vain,” she said.

Her neighbour Rezia Begum rears five cows. Recently, one of them has developed wounds on skin, the evident symptom of the LSD virus. She also treated the cow but failed to see any improvement.

Another cattle farmer Moktar Hossain, 35, said one of his four cows died last week from the LSD virus.

“What kind of disease is this! No medicine is working,” he expressed sorrow.

Dr Abul Khayer, upazila livestock officer of Nokla, said it is a disease caused by pox virus or Lumpy Skin Disease virus. Mosquitoes and flies are thought to be the main carriers of the virus.

It can be transmitted from one animal to another through saliva, food or clothes of farm caretakers.

Even, there is risk for the calves to be infected through milk of mother cows. Syringes used by local veterinarians can also be responsible for spreading the virus, he added.

Contacted, District Livestock Officer Dr Abdul Hai said only cows have contracted Lumpy Skin Disease in Sherpur.

“The situation is under control. We’re vaccinating the cows with GPV and carrying out awareness campaigns,” he said.

He revealed that eleven medical teams are working in the field to control the disease.