Among the livestock, only cows are infected with lumpy skin disease (LSD) and after contracting the disease, they stop producing milk. Most of the milk consumed in Pakistan is produced by buffaloes, which are not infected with the LSD and their milk is safe for human consumption.
This was said at a seminar held at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Ojha Campus on Thursday to address misconceptions regarding the disease. The event was organised by the Association of Molecular and Microbial Sciences.
Livestock officials and experts told the seminar that there was a complete ban on slaughtering cows infected with the LSD, and even if the meat of a cow infected with the LSD was consumed, it did not transmit the viral disease to humans.
“Except for five districts, lumpy skin disease has spread to all the districts of Sindh but it is only infecting cows while other livestock including buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels have not contracted the disease. Infected cows stop producing milk while we consume buffaloes’ milk, which is safe and does not carry the disease or virus, Livestock Director General Dr Nazir Hussain Kalhoro said.
He added that according to data till March 23, 2022, around 28,857 cows were infected with the LSD in Sindh and about 250 cows died. "On social media, lumpy skin disease is being described as an infectious disease or a deadly disease to humans, which is not true," he explained.
He added that the disease had been around for 100 years and till date no evidence of transmission of the disease to human beings had been established or reported. Dr Kalhoro said there were 30,000 doses of vaccine in the province that were being administered to the animals in the affected areas. After the federal government was asked for the vaccine on March 4, four million doses of the vaccine are being urgently imported from Turkey, he explained.
“We will make our own vaccine in eight to nine months. Vaccine from abroad is expensive. The government of Sindh has provided funds for this,” he added. He maintained that the vaccine would be provided to the cattle in the province free of charge by the Sindh government and the vaccinated cattle would be protected from the disease for their whole life.
“Some people have imported vaccines privately and vaccinated their cattle. It is not reliable and if the vaccine is not administered under the supervision of experts, it is harmful,” he said, adding that 13,000 animals in Sindh had been cured of the disease and they had become immunised for entire life.
“In 10 to 12 days, our teams will vaccinate 200,000 cows in Sindh,” he claimed. DUHS Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nusrat Shah said the Dow University in collaboration with the Sindh livestock department was going to develop a bovine lumpy vaccine soon.
Prof Shah also stated that according to the research carried out so far, there was no evidence of the transmission of the lumpy skin disease in humans nor did it have any effect on milk or meat.
She said that people in the country had seen a decrease in protein consumption, which was why it was important not to give up the use of meat. She also urged the youth to join the field of veterinary sciences as there was shortage of veterinary doctors in the country.
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