Why in news?
=>A rare and deadly livestock disease has resurfaced in M. Hosuru, a village in Kunigal taluk, Tumakuru district, Karnataka.
=>Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF), an infectious viral disease originally from South Africa that affects cattle, was first spotted in the State 10 years ago. It has neither a cure nor a vaccination that can prevent its spread.
=>It is an infectious and usually a fatal viral disease of ruminant species. The causative agent is a gamma herpes virus.
=>There are two endemic forms of MCF with distinct geographical distributions; Alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1), which is endemic in wildebeest and causes the wildebeest-associated form of MCF in cattle and other species. This is prevalent in South Africa.
=>The other form, which is an emerging disease in India is Ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2). It infects the domestic sheep asymptomatically and but causes symptomatically conspicuous sheep-associated MCF (SA-MCF) in large ruminants, such as cattle, deer, bison, water buffalo and pigs. SA-MCF has been reported worldwide. It is sporadic disease rarely endemic as the susceptible ruminant population is the dead end host. The incidence of SA-MCF is present in all seasons.
=>OvHV-2 is transmitted by contact or aerosol, from carrier lambs under 1-year old. The disease can also be transmitted by goats which also are the asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Incubation periods after experimental inoculation of cattle are 2–12 weeks.
=>The clinical disease occurs when the susceptible host are in contact with asymptomatic sheep/goat either directly or indirectly. The respiratory tract is a common route for both entry and shedding of the virus.
=>Infectious OvHV-2 is present in ovine nasal secretions, adult sheep can be infected by OvHV-2 via horizontal transmission through natural contact and it may intermittently shed large quantities of virus from nasal secretions which when transmitted to the susceptible cattle causes a fatal disease
Control and prevention:
=>There is no treatment for the disease, symptomatic treatment rarely helps. There are no vaccines available till date.
=>In India a mixed livestock farming system of cattle with sheep and goats, is most common which leads to increased chances of close contact of carrier animals (sheep and goat) with clinically susceptible animal such as cattle and buffaloes while housing or grazing.
=>It was first reported from Bannerghatta in a gaur nearly a decade ago, and has since led to a few cattle deaths in Anekal and elsewhere.
=>There was a recent research that showed that MCF virus is found in a quarter of the sheep and goats (which are carriers of the disease, but does not lead to death) in the State. This means that the virus is latent and sporadically reappears.
Pic courtesy:Vet Times
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