Strange Cattle Die-Off In India
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hi Jeff -
Although some researchers in India suspect Anthrax, the swiftness of death and some of the symptoms simply do not fit the diagnosis of Anthrax.
I believe that further investigation will reveal that Anthrax is not the cause of these deaths. The numbers of cattle involved in the short time span just do not support anthrax as etiologic agent.
Patricia Doyle
A ProMED-mail post ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
[1] Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 14:52:53 +0000 From: Dr. Satadal Das <> Source: Ananda Bazar Patrika, 30 Jan 2004
400 Cows Die In 7 Days In Rajgunge, Siliguri, West Bengal, India
In the last 7 days, in Santinagar, Chayanpara, Baribhasa and in 15 adjoining villages of Rajgunge, panic has spread as 400 cows died.
According to local people, about 1000 cows have died in the area within the last month. Although postmortem examinations of a few cows revealed large numbers of helminths, most experts believed these deaths to be due to anthrax, as many anthrax cases have previously been recorded in the area.
Government officials have begun vaccinating the remaining cattle for anthrax.
Illness in the affected animals begins with watery diarrhoea, and within a few hours they die, with bleeding from the mouth and anus.
-- Dr. Satadal Das Consultant Microbiologist & Infection Control Officer Peerless Hospital & B. K. Roy Research Centre Kolkata, India <>
****** [2] Date: 31 Jan 2004 From: ProMED-mail <> Source: The Hindu [edited]
Mystery Disease Kills Over 300 Cows In W. Bengal
A mysterious disease has killed over 300 bovines in the past 2 weeks in 3 areas of this district, prompting veterinary officials and some NGOs to administer anti-anthrax injections to cattle, official sources here said. More than 300 cows have died in Shantinagar, Baribhasha, Rajgange, and Hatibhanga areas in the past 15 days.
Veterinary officials from the towns of Rajgange and Jalpaiguri yesterday visited the affected areas to take stock of the situation.
As a preventive measure, 110 cows were administered anti-anthrax injection, according to a veterinarian from the Rajgange area, Atanu Saha, said yesterday. "60 percent had symptoms of a particular worm known as 'amphistom' [_Paramphistomum cervi_ - Mod.MHJ] in their stools." According to preliminary investigations, the affected cows had initially failed to discharge stool, then became restless.
However, the veterinary officials said tests were being performed to ascertain what actually caused the deaths of the cattle.
-- ProMED-mail <>
[Watery diarrhea is not a normal sign of clinical anthrax, which is normally characterised by peracute death in cattle; in epidemics it takes weeks to work up to the kind of numbers quoted here. Bloody exudates from the various orifices post-mortem, though common in textbooks, in reality is not a consistent feature of livestock anthrax. I know of many epidemics from which it was completely absent, as well as in sporadic cases. And thirdly, anthrax can be readily diagnosed on the basis of fixed and stained blood smears and can be easily cultured on blood agar. Neither account refers to completed laboratory examinations. I know Dr. Das, and he has an excellent laboratory, albeit in a medical hospital and therefore not likely to be receiving any bovine bloody swabs or other samples for examination. Livestock and human anthrax are unfortunately common in West Bengal, but I am not convinced of anthrax being involved in this severe epidemic of bovine deaths.
In India the trematode mentioned is relatively common, e.g., in Himachal Pradesh it can be found in some 15 percent of dairy cattle, 11 percent of buffalo, and 3-4 percent of small ruminants. Though normally a mild pathogen, it was blamed for bovine and ovine losses in Himachal Pradesh (Siroli and Hamirpur) in 1986 (IVRI Annual Reports 1986-7).
I have referred this report to Dr. Das and others in the expectation of clarification. - Mod.MHJ] ......jw/mhj/pg/lm
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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