ANTHRAX ALERT in the Urigam reserve forests, India: Elephant; Bovine
The Karnataka Forest Department is on ‘high alert’ following the death of an 8 year old tusker, suspected of anthrax, at Urigam reserve forests in Tamil Nadu on Monday last [14 Oct 2013].
Principal chief conservator of Forests (Wildlife) GS Prabhu told Express that the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is situated adjacent to Krishnagiri Forests of Tamil Nadu and this was one of the major worries for them. Officers concerned had been asked to intensify patrolling within the sanctuary as well as to have an eye on elephants.
He said the Department of Veterinary Sciences has agreed to vaccinate cattle for anthrax in villages all along the sanctuary border after 8-10 days as they had vaccinated them for foot-and-mouth disease recently.
The forest officials have sealed all entry points for cattle into the sanctuary as a precautionary measure. Villagers have also been asked not to enter forests, he added.
Prabhu said the surveillance units are kept on high alert and the department has taken all precautionary steps to make sure that the disease does not spread to wild animals in the Cauvery Wildlife sanctuary. “We are closely monitoring the situation and we will take appropriate steps regularly.”
What is Anthrax?
Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus Anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal and it affects both humans and animals. It commonly infects wild and domesticated herbivorous mammals that ingest or inhale the spores while grazing. Carnivores living in the same environment may become infected by consuming infected animals. Diseased animals can spread anthrax to humans, either by direct contact or by consumption of a diseased animal’s flesh.