Scores of cattle have died and thousands infected in Jammu and Kashmir due to Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), an infectious viral disease of cattle.
Experts say that while the mortality rate of LSD is not high, but animals infected with this disease are unable to produce enough milk even after they are cured of infection.
The farmers are hit economically and they are very much worried for obvious reasons. As the disease began to spread there was panic in villages and the villagers sought immediate help from the authorities in containing the spread of infection.
They alleged that vaccination of the cattle was not being done and that there was no testing for the disease. Authorities say some steps have been taken. But there is need for more effective steps at the earliest.
Ring vaccination drive and the testing has to be stepped up to contain the infection. The required medicines have to be kept available. The recent ban on the import of livestock from outside for the time being as a precautionary measure should be strictly implemented.
The directive by officials to farmers not to sell milk of infected cattle must be also adhered to. Cattle in a number of areas particularly those in Uri, Pattan, and Kupwara, and border areas in Jammu like Kathua, Samba, and Rajouri have been infected.
According to official figures, 12,831 animals have been affected with LSD so far, out of which 80 percent have recovered.
Despite the recovery of the cattle, the negative effect on milk production is a cause of concern. Official figures say that Jammu and Kashmir has a livestock population of 31 lakh including 11.4 lakh in Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir was comparatively safer; LSD disease spread fast this year only.
It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies and mosquitoes, or ticks. It causes fever, nodules on the skin in animals and can also lead to death.
Reports indicate that LSD recently spread in Asia following outbreak in the Middle East and Europe. It has affected eight states and UTs claiming over 7,300 cattle.
Reports said the disease first entered India from Bangladesh in July 2019, hitting various states and union territories on a big scale this year.
In Jammu and Kashmir the authorities must seriously deal with the disease and protect cattle from more deaths and infection.
Awareness must also be created among the farmers regarding preventive measures for this purpose.