The East Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, administration has declared an extraordinary occurrence of surra, a cattle disease, following the deaths of 1,000 cows in the area.
The disease has broken out in six districts, namely Lewa, Lewa Tidas, Katala Hamulinggu, Nggaha Ori Angu,Tabundung and Wulla Waijelu, where dozens of cows and horses suddenly died.
East Sumba Husbandry Agency head Yunus Damu Wulang said Saturday the regency used to be free from the disease, suggesting the disease could have been infected from other cows and horses illegally shipped from another island.
“I suspect there is a black market trading cows or horses suffering from surra, which is caused byprotozoan Trypanosoma evansi, and transferring the parasite to other cattle in East Sumba,” he said.
He said surra was initially found only in Lewa but later spread to five other districts.
He said his staff had injected the infected cattle with a cure, locally known as tripollin, last week to prevent the disease from spreading further.
“We hope the provincial administration and the central government would distribute more of the cure because we’re running out of stock,” Wulang said, adding he had requested 2,500 cc of tripollin for the provincial administration.
The parasite lives in the host’s blood system and consumes glucose from the host’s blood, with horse-flies being the transmitter.
The host may become weak because of the decreasing level of glucose in its blood. Fatality may result if the disease is not treated.
General symptoms include weakness, fever, lethargy, poor appetite, anemia, a skinny build and hair loss, according to Wulang.
“Prevention can be done by spraying cattle houses and cattle with insecticide that is safe for cattle to exterminate the insects [that transmit the protozoan],” he said. (mtq)