Fever kills 138 water buffaloes in Phang Nga

PHUKET: More than 138 water buffaloes in the Thai Muang and Takuapa Districts of Phang Nga Province have died from hemorrhagic septicemia, known locally as “swollen neck fever”.

Health officials in the province have declared an epidemic and all cattle and buffalo slaughterhouses in the two districts have been closed for at least 30 days.

The disease, which normally occurs at the end of the rainy season, has been thriving due to hot and humid conditions. Typically, infected animals develop a high fever and die of suffocation within days, sometimes hours, as their neck and head muscles swell and their airways fill up with mucus.

Sunart Wongchawalit, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO), told the Gazette, “Phuket is not likely to have an epidemic because we vaccinate our livestock against diseases such as hemorrhagic septicemia. We have had no reports of it on the island.

“We will, however, revaccinate around 3,000 cattle, especially in the Thalang District where we have the most livestock. If we run out of vaccine, then we will get more.”

He added, “Buffaloes are dirty animals and are exposed to a lot of bacteria. Some farmers do not take good care of them or, worse, do not cooperate with [livestock offices] in vaccination programs. The vaccine is effective for six months, but some farmers are neglectful. Symptoms [the cattle experience] include a swollen neck, high fever and flatulence.”

He added, “Officers at the checkpoint at Tah Chat Chai are making sure that any cattle arriving in Phuket have the correct documentation from the PPLO.”

There are no records of hemorrhagic septicemia being contracted by people.

Phuket News
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