INDIA - Hundreds of thousands of Indian cattle are at risk from foot and mouth disease due to government staffing issues in the south of the country.
Many cattle have already died in the region, particularly 'white cattle' which are very prone to the highly contagious and fatal disease.
Records show this is because twice annual vaccinations scheduled for January and June are at times not being met.
Several districts are suffering from the delay in vaccines. Srikakulam district has a high population of the more susceptible 'white cattle' population and is one of the endemic districts.
In order to prevent, control and contain FMD across the country, the Central government has initiated an intensive FMD Control Programme (FMD-CP).
During the past three Five-Year plans, 351 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Puducherry, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep have been covered under FMD-CP.
However, staffing problems have stifled vaccination progress. Some regions have had treatments delayed until February and March - a two month delay.
The Animal Husbandry Department denies that any FMD-related deaths take place in certain areas. The department's join director, P Naganna, played down reports of FMD related deaths.
Vaccination protocol is to mark cattle following administration. There are 100,000 vials of vaccine to be deployed this year.
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