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BQ Outbreak Claims 13 Cows In Achanbigei

IMPHAL, May 15: Outbreak of BQ (Black Quarters), an infectious and fatal bacterial disease of the cattle, gripped Achanbigei area of Imphal East district, where at least 13 cows have reportedly died from the disease over the last 15 days.

According to locals of Achanbigei, for the first time a cow was found dead from unknown causes near Achanbigei Loukon, located next to the Koirengei Old Airfield about 15 days back.

Discovering the dead cow, some people cut it up and took away the thigh and other meaty portions for consumption. However, they did not dispose of the remaining carcass and the blood falling on the ground, properly.

Within a few days of this incident, it rained heavily and the blood from the dead bovine spread to other nearby areas contaminating water source and grasses. Drinking of these contaminated water and eating the bacteria-infected grasses suspectedly led to death of other cattle one after another.

It is said that there are over 200 cattle in Achanbigei area alone. But with few exceptions, most of these cattle are let loose to search for grazing ground themselves and Achanbigei Loukon is the most frequented grazing ground for these cattle.

Of the total population, most cattle in Achanbigei area are suspected to have been affected by BQ.

Initially, there was widespread panic and false alarm that over 50 cattle have died. But this misapprehension subsided following urgent steps taken up by the doctors of Veterinary Department, who vaccinated the cattle against BQ infection.

The veterinary doctors of the Department have been continuing their scout to prevent spread of BQ in other parts of Achanbigei and its surrounding area.

Local sources said that earlier most people did not know the causes for the death of many cows in Achanbigei area. But after the veterinary doctors came to their rescue, they knew about BQ and causes of the death of cows.

According to veterinary doctors, BQ or Black  Quarters, also known as Blackleg, quarter evil, quarter ill (Gangraena emphyse-matosa) is an infectious bacterial disease affecting sheep and cattle, and it is caused by Clostridium chauvoei bacteria. The first symptom of BQ is said to be characterized by swellings which make a cracking sound under pressure.

It is soil-borne infection which generally occurs during rainy season.

Other symptoms include fever (106-10S°F), loss of appetite, depression, dullness, suspended rumination, rapid pulse and heart rates, difficulty in breathing (dyspnoea), lameness in affected leg, crepitating swelling over hip, back & shoulder, hot and painful swelling in early stages followed by cold and painless in later stages, recumbency (prostration) followed by death within 12-48 hrs, etc.

When contacted, Disease Specialist of Veterinary Department Dr Gopal explained that meat of any cattle, which may have died from any disease or otherwise, should not be consumed without knowing the cause of the death.

In case of suspicion, the staff of the Veterinary Department should be informed and consulted for post-mortem and other necessary test on the blood samples collected, he advised stating that it is one of the best ways to prevent spread of disease among the cattle.

The recent outbreak of BQ in Achanbigei that led to death of 13 cows is mainly on account of cutting the meat of a dead cow.  The remaining carcass may be taken in piecemeal by other animals like dogs, cats and birds and spread the bacteria far and wide. The matter would be serious even more if it rains, Dr Gopal explained.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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