The foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a recurring menace for the people of Chhukha dzongkhag (district) in Bhutan. Fed up with the frequent outbreaks, Chhukha has embarked upon a mass immunisation programme that would shield its entire livestock. The district has a livestock population of 1,53,348, and has encountered 13 occurrences of FMD since 1998. As many as 10 of these have taken place between 2001 and 2002.
The trend is attributed to a porous border that enables unhindered import of meat and sharing of grazing land with cattle from across the border. The high number of migratory herds in the region also contributes to the spread of the disease. Chhukha is planning to create a buffer zone from Phentsholing to Chhunzom by vaccinating all the animals along the border and on either side of the highway. Drifting populations are being vaccinated and sterilised as well.
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