Bengaluru: As many as 50 goats have been isolated by Karnataka’s Department of Animal husbandry and Veterinary Services after their goatherd tested positive for Covid-19 in Tumakuru’s Godakere, raising fear that the livestock may have contracted the infection too.
Four goats died just days after the goatherd and another person tested positive for the virus in the village.
Residents told animal husbandry officials that the goats had shown signs of respiratory problems.
However, on testing, the samples from the cattle came positive only for seasonal diseases common among livestock, said H. Basavarajendra, Commissioner, Animal Husbandry.
“People were apprehensive after the goats died. We have tested four-five goats… These are not Covid symptoms. A sample of the neighbouring flock has also has been taken for testing,” said Basavarajendra.
The officials said the animals were separated from the others to calm the panicking villagers.
“We have sent the samples to a specialised testing laboratory in Bhopal to allay fears of people during this time. We would like to stress that in India, till date, no livestock has been affected by Covid-19,” he added.
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The commissioner also said some of the goat samples were also sent to Bengaluru’s Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals. Veterinary experts said the samples showed the cattle have symptoms of Peste des Petits Ruminants (also known as goat plague) and mycoplasmic infection. These are common among livestock and also require quarantining, the officials said.
Dr B.L. Chidananda, head of Animal Sciences, University of Agricultural Sciences, told ThePrint that there has been no evidence to indicate that zoonotic viruses like Covid-19 spread from humans to animals. Zoonotic viruses are those transmitted from animals to people.
“The villagers have limited knowledge and were quite scared. As such, there has been no transmission of corona from humans to animals,” he said.
It is yet unclear to scientists which animals transmitted the coronavirus causing SARS-CoV-2 pathogen to humans, but genome sequencing of the virus has shown that it’s related to two other deadly coronaviruses that originated in bats.
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