Amid Covid surge, highly infectious foot-and-mouth disease hits animals in Arunachal

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Express News Service

GUWAHATI: A number of domestic animals, including mithuns (gayals) and cattle, died while scores of others fell sick following an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease across Arunachal Pradesh.

The cases were reported mostly from the Siang belt — Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang, and West Siang districts. The animals are getting infected even after being vaccinated, officials said.

“The disease has been reported from central Arunachal district of Papum Pare to eastern Arunachal district Anjaw. Instructions have been passed on to the officials concerned to take some immediate measures for controlling it,” Deputy Director in the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Tachi Taku said on Saturday.

The department could not specify the number of animal deaths but the locals claimed at least a dozen mithuns died in Riga, Pangkong, Riew, and Sitang villages of the Siang district.

The officials were skeptical about the efficacy of the vaccine after many animals were infected even after being administered the shots.

“We are finding it difficult to control the disease. Officials have told us that even the vaccinated animals are falling sick again,” Taku said.

Over one lakh animals were vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination in October last year. The infection is largely among mithuns but some districts reported the disease also among cattle.

“The officials are in the fields in all districts. They are trying their best to control the disease,” Taku added.

Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes, a fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids.

The locals of Arunachal are inherently linked to mithun, a bovine species. They consume its meat. The animal’s milk is considered nutritionally superior to cow or goat milk.

There is still a practice in the state where the family of a man tying the nuptial knot is required to gift one-two mithuns to the bride’s parents.
 



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