For the last two weeks, Mosharraf Hossain (35), a farmer at Nilahati village in Nilphamari, is passing days in worry as two of his six cattle have been suffering from high fever, and had marble-like small lumps throughout their skins.
“Initially I didn’t pay proper attention and took consultations from a village quack. But the condition of my cows deteriorated further as I continued spending more money for the wrong treatments,” he said.
Being informed, livestock department officials from the district visited his residence and under their treatment the cows are improving now.
Cattle farmer Ferdous Mia of Uttor Durakuthi village shared similar stories.
He said at first one of his ten cows got infected, which gradually spread among three more.
“They are now recovering, but are very weak,” he said.
Two Australian variety cows of Ranu Agro Ltd in Saidpur municipality also got severely ill with identical symptoms in and around the same time.
Experts said they are suffering from lumpy skin disease (LSD), a viral infection that affects cattle. It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies and mosquitoes.
The disease causes fever, lumps on the skin and can also lead to death. Cattle farmer Ferdous Mia of Uttor Durakuthi claimed that over 1,000 cattle have been infected in the district in the last one month.
Many of them are petrified as some of the cattle died and there isn’t any specific vaccines for the disease.
Cattle farming is a popular business in Nilphamari. There are around 400 registered cattle farms and 150 unregistered ones in the district, and seven lakh animals are reared in different farms.
Affected farmers reported that initially small lumps are seen in the infected cow’s skin, which turn into sores within 2-3 days, alongside discharge of dense fluid.
The animals slowly develop high fever and strong aversion to food, and the flesh finally starts rotting, making the condition critical.
Sadar upazila livestock officer Shahidul Islam said, “Lumpy skin disease usually spreads by flies and mosquitoes. So farmers’ household should be kept clean and the infected cattle must be separated from others under mosquito net.”
Monakka Ali, district livestock officer, said 500 cattle are infected with LSD in Nilphamari, of which 450 are being treated.
“We also ran 40 medical camps and vaccinated over 10,000 cattle. The vaccination drive is still underway,” he added