Awareness campaign held for Foot and Mouth Disease

1July 16, Paro: Following the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Paro, the Hon’ble Sanam Lyonpo accompanied by the Director General for BAFRA and experts from the Department of Livestock and BAFRA met with the people in the FMD outbreak areas to assess the situation and create public awareness to control the outbreak. The officials also discussed on the issues to come up with a solution to rapidly contain FMD outbreak in Paro.

FMD is an endemic in Bhutan and has been reported in all Dzongkhags except n Tsirang. On an average, Bhutan experiences around 14-15 FMD outbreaks in a year.

The first suspected clinical cases of FMD in cattle was reported by a farmer from Riji village, Lamgong geog on June 8, 2017. The investigation found out that the outbreak in fact had occurred on June 2, 2017 in Chukha village of Lamgong geog prior to Riji village. It has then spread to other cattle in the neighbourhood since they share common grazing ground and watering points. The source of outbreak is still unknown and could not be traced since the farmers were reluctant to share the information.

The outbreak had spread to Nechuphu village under Tsento geog and the first cases were detected on June 12, 2017.

As of 15 July, the disease has affected 32 households in 13 villages of Lamgong, Tsento, Dopshari and Hungrel geogs. A total of 133 animals were being affected and 8 animals have died (7 calves and one adult) due to disease.

The disease was confirmed as FMD serotype O at NCAH, Serbithang and subsequently disease control measures have been put into place. New cases are being reported daily.

FMD is a highly contagious disease caused by virus that affects mostly cloven-footed animals such as cattle, yaks, buffaloes, pigs, goats and sheep. It can also affect wild cloven-footed animals such as deer, wild cattle, wild pigs.

Lyonpo and Vet Doc brief about FMDThe affected animals develop wound inside mouth, tongue, inter-digital space of feet and udder. As a result, the affected animals will have difficulty in eating and walking for 7-10 days. There is marked reduction in the milk production and mortality in adult is very rare but in calves is quite common.

In line with the National FMD Control Plan, the rapid response team (RRT) has been activated with members from Dzongkhag Livestock Sector Paro, RLDC Tsimasham, NCAH Serbithang and BAFRA to combat the disease.

A total of 2264 cattle have been vaccinated against FMD in the neighbouring villages to protect the animals. It will be continued until all susceptible animals are vaccinated.

BAFRA officials are spearheading the movement control and implementation of biosecurity measures to prevent further spread of the disease. A total of 2000 litres of milk has been banned for sale in the dairy farmers group based on the risk posed by the movement of infected products.

Any new cases reported are thoroughly investigated and followed up for treatment using antibiotics and supportive therapy to reduce mortality. A total of 133 animals have been treated in the affected herds, as of July 16.

The experts has requested the public to get the susceptible cattle vaccinated and those affected to be reared in isolation to avoid further outspread. The officials also briefed the community to ensure proper handling of animals and dairy equipment.

Reported by Tashi Yangzom with Photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICS

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