… achieves 9 percent of the target in a week as of yesterday

Sherab Lhamo 

Livestock officials have been scattered across the country to vaccinate the bovine population in time to prevent the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) from claiming more fatalities.

The Department of Livestock distributed 294,350 doses to all dzongkhags starting August 19 after LSD infected more than 6,396 cattle and killed around 507. 

According to the National Centre for Animal Health (NCAH) daily report, 25,554 cows, 1,191 yaks, 13 mithuns, and 24 buffaloes have been vaccinated to date in 16 dzongkhags and 68 gewogs.

Cattle being vaccinated in Lingmukha, in Punakha

Bumthang, Wangdue, Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse, and Haa have each vaccinated more than 2,000 animals as of yesterday. 

The vaccination campaign aims to complete the vaccination process within a month, depending on the weather condition or achieve at least 80 percent coverage of all susceptible populations.

In Punakha, 8,368 doses of vaccines were distributed, with 671 animals vaccinated in Guma gewog. The vaccination campaign in Lingmukha gewog started yesterday, and it is expected to be completed in Toedpaisa gewog on October 5, which will mark the end of the campaign in Punakha.

Sarpang dzongkhag scheduled the LSD vaccination campaign from August 31 to September 25, with 16,342 vaccine doses distributed.

Trashiyangtse received 8,584 doses and began the vaccination campaign on August 24, from Jamkhar and Yangtse gewogs.

As of yesterday, the two teams completed three gewogs: Tongzhang, Jamkhar, and Yangtse.

Senior Livestock Officer of Trashiyangtse, Phurpa Tshering said that the first case was reported in Jamkhar on July 5 and spread to other seven gewogs. 

“All the team members are painstakingly walking every community to vaccinate the cattle under the direction of veterinary doctors”, he said. 

Trashigang dzongkhag administration deployed two teams, one to the highlands and the other to the south to complete the vaccination programme on time. They would cover all 15 gewogs within a month.  

Trashigang Livestock Officer, Naina S Tamang said that the disease has spread in all the gewogs. 

“Since the team has to travel from herd to herd in Merak and Sakteng gewogs, we have set the vaccination campaign’s duration as one month. All the teams left for their respective areas yesterday”, he said.

Starting tomorrow, Chukha dzongkhag will begin vaccinating non-affected bovine animals including one-month calf, for a period of one month. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Livestock urges people to stop sharing false information about the potential of LSD to affect humans and the safety of consuming dairy products. This misinformation is causing unnecessary anxiety in the communities. 

The department stated that LSD is not transmissible to humans and that there is no risk associated with consuming milk and dairy products. However, the notification from the department advised the public to boil milk before consuming it and to reach out to the department if anyone has any doubts or requires clarification via the toll-free number 1244.

Additional reporting by Chencho Dema, Lhakpa Quendren and Neten Dorji.