Nationwide Effort Underway to Protect Bovine Population from Lumpy Skin Disease

In a concerted national endeavor, livestock officials have fanned out across the country to inoculate cattle promptly in a bid to curtail the toll inflicted by the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD).

Commencing on August 19, the Department of Livestock has successfully distributed 294,350 vaccine doses to all dzongkhags, responding to the urgent need as LSD infections soared to 6,396, with a lamentable death toll of approximately 507.

According to the daily update from the National Centre for Animal Health (NCAH), a total of 25,554 cows, 1,191 yaks, 13 mithuns, and 24 buffaloes have received vaccination in 16 dzongkhags and 68 gewogs.

Among the commendable efforts, Bumthang, Wangdue, Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse, and Haa have demonstrated exceptional dedication, collectively vaccinating over 2,000 animals each, as of the most recent reports.

This sweeping vaccination campaign, subject to weather conditions, aims to wrap up within a month or secure a coverage rate of at least 80 percent among all vulnerable populations.

In Punakha, an allocation of 8,368 vaccine doses has been efficiently dispatched, with 671 animals already safeguarded in Guma gewog. In Lingmukha gewog, the vaccination push commenced just yesterday, with the initiative anticipated to conclude in Toedpaisa gewog on October 5, effectively marking the culmination of the campaign in Punakha.

Scheduled from August 31 to September 25, Sarpang dzongkhag’s LSD vaccination campaign sees the distribution of 16,342 vaccine doses, as authorities aim to shield the bovine population in that region.

Similarly, Trashiyangtse, having received 8,584 doses, initiated its vaccination drive on August 24, focusing on Jamkhar and Yangtse gewogs. Notably, the dedicated teams have already completed immunization efforts in three gewogs – Tongzhang, Jamkhar, and Yangtse.

Commenting on the proactive measures, Phurpa Tshering, Senior Livestock Officer of Trashiyangtse, conveyed that the initial LSD case emerged in Jamkhar on July 5 and subsequently extended its grip to seven additional gewogs. “With veterinary guidance, our teams are tirelessly traversing communities to ensure comprehensive cattle vaccination,” he affirmed.

Trashigang dzongkhag has strategized a two-pronged approach, with one team addressing highland areas and the other focusing on the southern region, all with the intent to execute the vaccination program within a month across all 15 gewogs. Naina S Tamang, Trashigang Livestock Officer, acknowledged the disease’s widespread impact, explaining the month-long campaign duration due to the necessary travel from herd to herd in Merak and Sakteng gewogs.

Beginning tomorrow, Chukha dzongkhag is poised to initiate a month-long vaccination initiative targeting unaffected bovine animals, including one-month-old calves.

Meanwhile, the Department of Livestock is urging the public to refrain from circulating baseless information concerning LSD’s potential threat to humans and the safety of dairy consumption. This misinformation has led to undue distress within communities. The department emphatically clarified that LSD is not transferable to humans and that dairy products are entirely safe for consumption. However, as a precaution, the public is advised to boil milk prior to consumption and encouraged to seek clarification or address doubts through the toll-free number 1244.

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