PUNE: In a bid to check the spread of lumpy skin disease in cattle, the Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Department has directed authorities of all districts to speed up vaccination which will be offered free, officials said.
The disease has so far claimed the lives of 43 cattle in the state.
"The Maharashtra government has decided to offer vaccination against lumpy skin disease virus for free with 50 lakh vials to be made available from the next week," Sachindra Pratap Singh, the state commissioner for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Department, said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Singh said farmers will not have to pay any charges for the vaccination of cattle.
"The state government is going to receive 50 lakh vials of the vaccine against the lumpy skin disease virus," he said.
A total of 5,51,120 livestock in 1,755 villages within a five-kilometre radius of the infected area have been vaccinated, the Animal Husbandry department said in a release on Monday.
Out of the total of 2,664 infected livestock in the affected villages, 1,520 have recovered after treatment, it added.
"The lumpy skin disease among cattle is caused by a virus. If not treated in time, it turns fatal. More than 50,000 infected cattle have died in Rajasthan of this disease. Similar cases have been reported from Punjab and Haryana as well," said an official.
Singh said the disease was spreading rapidly in the state and there was a need to raise public awareness on a large scale.
"In order to keep the mortality rate down due to lumpy skin disease in Maharashtra, a batch of 10 lakh vaccine doses has been received to vaccinate cows within a radius of five km of an affected area," the release said.
Instructions have been given that the vaccination should be done at a faster pace and continuous efforts should be made to bring the disease under control.
The Animal Husbandry department also said that Rs 1 crore should be made available from the District Planning Committee for each district for the procurement of vaccines and medicines useful in curbing the ailment.
"A vaccination campaign should be conducted in collaboration with private livestock supervisors to control the disease and their services should be taken on a remuneration basis.
Vacant posts in the animal husbandry department must be immediately filled on a contract basis," the release said.
The Maharashtra government has already declared the whole state a "controlled area" to curb the spread of the disease and has banned the holding of markets, races and exhibitions connected to cattle.
Singh said his department observed that private veterinary doctors were prescribing expensive antibiotics and other supportive medicines for the disease, whereas all the necessary medicines were available at government veterinary dispensaries and mini veterinary polyclinics in tehsils.
"All farmers should avail free treatment for their affected cattle at their doorstep by contacting government veterinary dispensaries nearby and livestock development officers," he said. (AIR NEWS)