Story by R. Avadhani - Reported in media today (14.3.2012)
Spreading panic:Veterinarians are of the opinion that the anthrax virus could have been carried by sheep and goats which came from Maharashtra.– A file photo
After almost a decade, the presence of the dreaded bacteria Bacillus Anthracis (anthrax virus) was reported in Medak district. While two white oxen succumbed to the virus, another three (a cow, buffalo and ox) got infected but were saved due to the pro-active measures by the Animal Husbandry Department authorities.
According to sources, about 10 shepherds from Maharashtra entered Gopulapuram village in Munipally mandal of the district via Karnataka on March 1 along with about 1,000 sheep and some goats.
The animals were kept for penning on a field for two days. Four sheep died and the shepherds left their carcasses at different places and moved forward to graze the animals.
After a week, two oxen in the village died with high fever and three cattle were infected with the virus. The impact of the virus was so fast that the animals died even before the farmers could monitor their body conditions. They then informed the veterinary doctor Santosh Kumar who rushed to the village to take stock of the situation. While one animal died on March 8, the other succumbed to the virus the next day.
"Once infected, the animal dies within 24 hours by oozing tarry colour blood from natural orifices. Immediately after learning about the incident, our teams rushed to the village, collected samples and sent them for analysis to the Veterinary Biological Research Institute at Hyderabad,'' said Dr. V. Lakshma Reddy, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry.
Special teams were deputed to Gopulapuram, Budhera, Polkampally, Gorreghat, Munipally and Karmapally villages to ascertain that no animal was sick in the village. They visited almost all houses and checked the health of the cattle. Sale of sheep, goat and cattle meat was banned in these villages for the next three weeks. The sale will be permitted only after blood samples of some animals in these villages tested negative.
More than 8,500 animals were already vaccinated by Tuesday and another 12,000 vaccines were kept ready for any emergency."The anthrax virus is alive beneath the upper layer of the soil and erupts during ploughing. We will continue vaccination in Gopulapuram village for the next three years with an interval of eight months,'' said Dr. Deepankar, a veterinary doctor in the department.
Based on information furnished by local people, the officials came to the conclusion that the virus could have been carried here by the sheep and goats, which came from Maharashtra