A virus threatens cows in India

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Mikaela Viqueira |

New Delhi (EFE) A lot.

Thousands of Orthodox Hindus took to the streets in the northern state of Rajasthan last September to demand urgent action to save the life of this animal, which they consider a mother and which also carries 330 million gods inside, after being leaked footage in slaughterhouses with thousands of dead cows.

The demonstration, which degenerated into clashes with the police, was largely led by activists from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the formation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has blamed the regional government. of opposition.

More than 150,000 dead cows

The culprit is an outbreak of lumpy skin disease which has already infected more than 2 million cows and killed more than 150,000, India’s Department of Livestock and Dairy Deputy Commissioner Sujit Nayak confirmed to EFE.

This disease is caused by a provirus and is considered endemic in several parts of Africa. It can lead to the death of cattle, although its greatest impact is more associated with reduced fertility and milk production.

The disease appears as nodules on the skin of the animal, mainly on the head, limbs, udder and genitals, which then degenerate into deep wounds. Its contagion by vectors such as mosquitoes increases during periods of rain.

In search of a vaccine

The absence of a vaccine to stop the spread of this virus has led the health authorities to temporarily administer the caprine vaccine, applied to goats and sheep, and whose effectiveness is close to 80%, explained to EFE the Deputy Director of the Institute. of Veterinary Research (IVRI), KP Singh.

This way, “if vaccinated cows are infected, they will show only mild symptoms” and time will be saved until a specific autochthonous serum is developed, which is presumed to be ready within three to six months, a said the expert.

Singh warned that “a detailed study of this disease is needed” because what is known “is insufficient” to determine whether it can be transmitted to humans or other animals, although a treatment adequate vaccine is provided and vaccination is given to cows, the mortality rate is reduced to between 5 and 10%, he said.

Inattention

Aunque, una vez más, lo que ha sacado a la luz esta enfermedad es que a pesar de que las vacas son sagradas para el hinduismo, su cuidado escasea, siendo habitual verlas deambular esqueléticas entre el tráfico o por la calles, deteniéndose a pastar entre the bin.

A man milks a cow at a ‘gaushala’ or cow shelter in South New Delhi. EFE/Neeshu Shukla

Society is “not fulfilling its duty to protect our mother cow as it is supposed to”, with cows “roaming around and looking for food in the piles of rubbish”, High Priest Prem Pandit told EFE. ‘Ef. temple located in the middle of a “gaushala” or cow shelter.

This shelter, located south of New Delhi, provides food and daily medical assistance to more than 1,500 cows rescued from the streets or adopted by the center when, when they stop producing milk and their slaughter is prohibited, families Indians abandon them.

Almost all the cows in this shelter have received the goat vaccine and so far they have not registered any outbreak of lumpy skin disease, although they are aware of the seriousness that an outbreak in the center could cause, without infrastructure to isolate infected people.

Few “understand their responsibility” to watch over the life of India’s most sacred animal, “while others are negligent”, lamented the priest.

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