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205 goats killed by plague in Serchhip district

Aizawl: At least 205 goats have died in two villages of central Mizoram’s Serchhip district during the past few weeks due to infection of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) also known as goat plague, state animal husbandry and veterinary department officials said on Sunday.

The officials said that the samples of sick and dead goats collected and sent to the laboratory of the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal tested positive of the goat plague.

The disease is suspected to have spread from goats imported from neighbouring states.

At Thinglian village, state animal husbandry and veterinary minister and legislator elected from Tuikum assembly seat Lalrinawma provided fund for purchase of 92 goats which were procured by a local supplier residing in Serchhip town.

The supplier purchased the goats from neighbouring Assam and were imported to the village without being quarantined at the border and also without health checkup, Thinglian village leaders said.

Of the 92 goats procured through MLA local area development fund in the village, 85 have died, leaving only 7 live goats. There were also families rearing 81 goats on their own without the help of the minister, of which 77 have died and 4 have so far survived. 

In the village, out of the total 173 goats being reared, with or without the help of the minister, 162 have died leaving only 11 goats surviving.

In nearby Lungpho village, where no family has been engaging in goat rearing, the minister helped in procuring 56 goats through his MLA fund, of which 43 have died due to the outbreak of the PPR leaving only 13 goats avoiding the goat plague.

Meanwhile, villagers of Myanmar border Sailulak village within the same Serchhip district have so far recovered 12 carcasses of their gayals also known as mithuns, which died due to attacks by a pack of wolves.

Former village council president (VCP) of Sailulak village Sawmdawnga said that more than 2 dozens of gayal are feared to have succumbed to the attacks by 3 to 4 pack of wolves.

The state veterinary department officials said that veterinarians have been sent to the village and have informed the state environment, forests and climate change department to take action on the issue as the issue is not the purvew of the veterinary department.

The villagers have been making efforts to herd their gayals to a place near the Sailulak village with a belief that they will be able to protect them from the predators. 

What is Peste des petits ruminants?

According to the World Organisation of Animal Health (WOAH) PPR is caused by a virus of the family paramyxoviridae and genus morbillivirus. It represents one of the highly contagious animal diseases in areas that rely on small ruminants as a way of making a living. Outbreaks tend to be associated with contact of immuno-naïve animals with animals from endemic areas, in addition to occurring in extensive migratory populations. Morbidity rate in susceptible populations can reach up to 90-100%. Mortality rates vary among susceptible animals but can reach 50-100% in more severe instances. The disease was first identified in early 1940s in Ivory Coast. It has since been identified in many countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia. The disease has been reported in Europe in 2016 (Georgia) and 2018 (Bulgaria). In India, the disease outbreaks have been reported in Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. As per the national surveillance epidemiological data on PPR, in India, from 1995-2019 Himachal Pradesh was the top state reporting the highest number of outbreaks per 100 thousand population.

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