Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Baripada/Udala, Dec 17:
Confirmation of presence of anthrax organisms in the viscera of a tusker, which had died a few days ago in the Similipal sanctuary in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, has alarmed Forest department officials.
The department has pressed into service vans mounted with public address systems to caution villagers against the spread of the disease among domestic animals and people in the area as the disease spreads through air and vegetation coming in contact with the affected animals.
Viscera of the tusker which died in the Similipal sanctuary in Subarnamanjuri forest in the Dukura forest range sent to the Animal Disease Research Institute, Phulnakhara, Cuttack has confirmed the presence of anthrax organisms, said Forest department officials.
The department of Animal Resources Development has begun vaccination of domestic animals in villages in the vicinity of the sanctuary as a preventive measure. Villagers have been cautioned against consuming meat of dead animals.
“Based on observation of external symptoms of the dead elephant and suspecting it to be a case of anthrax, we had sent blood samples of the animal for examination to the Animal Disease Research Institute at Cuttack. The report has confirmed presence of anthrax organism in it,” said Subhendu Kumar Ghosh, a veterinarian.
“Medical teams have visited our villages. They have vaccinated our domestic animals. They have warned us against entering the forest area for grazing our goats and sheep. They have also warned us against eating the meat of dead animals,” said Kanhei Charan Singh, a local.
“Since the disease can spread to the villagers via the herbivorous domestic animal route, we have warned people against taking meat of dead or diseased animals. We have launched awareness campaigns in the area using the public address system. Vaccination of domestic animals against the disease has also begun in the area,” said Ajit Kumar Satapathy, regional conservator of forests.