Lumpy skin disease outbreak confirmed in Guma and Toedwang Gewogs, Punakha

In Punakha, an outbreak of lumpy skin disease, a viral disease among cattle, has been confirmed. So far, 11 cases have been reported, four from Guma Gewog and seven from Toedwang Gewog. The disease was initially reported to the district veterinary office on Monday from Guma Gewog. Although not a risk for humans, skin disease can kill cattle if left untreated. No additional cases have been detected so far.   

An investigation followed after receiving the first report from Guma Gewog. On Tuesday, a further seven cases of cattle infected with the lumpy skin disease was detected in Toedwang Gewog’s Jibjokha village.

The single case in Guma Gewog has been isolated since then, while the area in Toedwang Gewog has been cordoned off.

“The first appreciable sign that a farmer would see is a nodular lesion on the skin, which later then fluid will accumulate in leg and brisket region. And then slowly nodular lesion will blast and open as an open wound,” said Dr Rinchen Tsheirng, veterinary officer.

According to the doctor, there have been cases of the virus infecting deer. The disease can be spread by vector insects like flies and mosquitoes. Some of the symptoms are loss of appetite and fever.

“The impact of the disease mainly is when the animal is in lactation get infected with this disease, the milk production will drastically go down, which is a huge economic loss for the district and a nation as a whole,” added Dr Rinchen.

According to the veterinary doctor, only symptoms of the disease can be treated and the infected cattle will recover within two to three weeks.

“If we do not treat the severe cases, the animal will die. Among the cattle, in the field, after seeing the outbreak in Punakha, I came to realise that signs are more severe in jersey-cross breeds and pure jersey breeds. Signs are very mild in our local cattle,” further added Dr Rinchen.

The lumpy skin disease is predominately found in the southern districts. Officials are not sure how the disease reached Punakha. Officials say with summer approaching and the number of vector insects increasing, there are high chances of such outbreaks.

The district administration has notified the public to refrain from transporting cattle from gewog to gewog and to other districts for grazing or business purposes for now.

Changa Dorji, Punakha

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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