Gir officials take steps to prevent anthrax spread

June 18th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, June 18 (IANS) A precautionary drive is underway in Gujarat’s Gir forest to prevent the spread of anthrax among the Asiatic lions there after seven cows died of the deadly disease in neighbouring Bagdana village in the last fortnight. The lions are being monitored in the Bhavnagar side of the forest and the animal husbandry department is conducting a vaccination drive, Chief Conservator of Forest Bharat Pathak told IANS Wednesday.

Special teams have been deployed to ensure that the lions don’t eat any animal from outside the forest area and water points are being sanitised, he said.

The lions are being fed by the forest department as a precautionary measure, the official added.

Seven cows have died in Bagdana since June 13 and blood samples tested positive for anthrax. Anthrax is a disease in humans and animals caused by Bacillus anthracis that is highly lethal in some forms. There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.

The state animal husbandry department has so far vaccinated 1,000 animals in Bagdana and animals from neighbouring villages are also being monitored.

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