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Be wary of consuming raw milk straight out of the dairy

The government has geared up following few outbreaks down South India. In a bid to curb cases of Brucellosis, a bacterial disease affecting cattle like cow and buffalo and causing undulant fever in humans, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology has come up with a pilot project called “Brucella Free Villages”.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella. Brucellosis is also an important zoonotic disease of worldwide importance; people acquire the infection by consuming unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, and by coming in contact with the contaminated animal secretions and tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis is transmitted to humans from animals through direct contact with infected materials like afterbirth or indirectly by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation of airborne agents. Consumption of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk is the major source of infection in humans.

In humans, brucellosis can cause range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headache, back pain and physical weakness. Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur.

Doctors say that often brucellosis is diagnosed after ruling out all other fevers such as those caused by malaria, typhoid, dengue etc. Therefore, the disease is under reported and many medical professionals are not even aware of the problem. It is estimated that the disease causes economic losses of about Rs 28,000 crores.

“There is an urgent need for addressing this important issue of not only livestock health and production, but also public health. India is the world’s largest milk producer and hosts around 20 per cent of the world’s livestock population,” said Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

The programme in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research will initially be introduced in 50 villages covering 10 states. With its own admission government has said that the disease has always been underreported in India.

“Brucellosis is an important but for long has been a neglected disease in India. The Government of India has initiated a number of programmes and collaborations to address the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of this disease. Projects such as the “Brucella Free Villages” are important steps towards disease eradication,” said Dr K Vijayraghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology.

The Department of Biotechnology on its part has initiated a Network Project on Brucellosis. The project aims at studying the epidemiological status of Brucella infections in India and to develop novel diagnostics and vaccines,” he said.

“We have to get effective control strategies and potential eradication methods that are suitable for endemic countries as per the laws governing their livestock production systems,” Y S Chowdary, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences said.

In September 2016, following the outbreak of Brucellosis, the government decided to cull all infected cattle at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) farm at Thiruvazhamkunnu in Palakkad. Similarly, in Kolar district Brucella abortus bacterium was detected in 998 cattle, including 258 cows.

—According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis is transmitted to humans from animals through direct contact with infected materials like afterbirth or indirectly by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation of airborne agents.

—Consumption of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk is the major source of infection in humans.

—Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology has come up with a pilot project called “Brucella Free Villages.

—The programme in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research will initially be introduced in 50 villages covering 10 states. With its own admission government has said that the disease has always been underreported in India.

—Indian scientists are working on the various facets of the disease such as Human Brucellosis; Epidemiology and Control; Brucella research in India; Canine and Wildlife Brucellosis; Diagnostic methods; and Vaccines and Immunology.

—In September 2016, following the outbreak of Brucellosis, the government decided to cull all infected cattle at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) farm at Thiruvazhamkunnu in Palakkad.

—Similarly, in Kolar district Brucella abortus bacterium was detected in 998 cattle, including 258 cows.

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