Viral infection kills wild animals in Haa

Choki Wangmo 

Wild animals within the Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve (JKSNR) in Gakiling and Sangbaykha gewogs, Haa have succumbed to a suspected outbreak of the viral infection, capripox.

The first case was detected in November last year.  According to the rescue focal officer of JKSNR, Kinley Tenzin, an observed symptom is the development of skin lesions and gradual peeling off.  So far, three Himalayan serows, one wild boar and a barking deer were reported dead from the disease.

“One animal was found sick and died within a night. Others were found dead by the officials,” he said.

Other symptoms of capripox are characterised by fever, generalised papules or nodules, vesicles, and internal lesions.  Infected animals eventually die.  The disease is caused by strains of capripoxvirus.

Kinley Tenzin said that there was no history of such outbreaks in the area but was earlier reported at Chari in Thimphu.

The nasal swab, eye swab, and lesion swab samples from the first dead animal, however, tested negative for foot and mouth disease and Peste des Petits Ruminants also known as PPR.

He said that the place had been disinfected and people in the areas were informed not to consume the meat of dead wild animals.

To reduce public health risks, the notification issued by the park on February 27 asked the public to refrain from touching and/or lifting dead wild animals like deer, serow and wild pig from the forest.”

Capripox in goats was first reported from Norway in 1879, while sheep pox originated in Central Asia.  In India, goat pox was reported for the first time in 1936.  

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