Presently working as Technical Manager Operation at camel farm Al Ain dairy UAE. The blogger is PhD in camel production and breeding. Author has been working on the global issues of camel and other indigenous livestock breeds. Dr Abdul Raziq is the head of the SAVES.
Monday, February 28, 2011
A fatal Respiratory Camel Disease
A highly contagious respiratory disease was first reported from Washuk, Dalbandin and Panjgur (Chaghai Kaharan desert) districts of Balochistan province of Pakistan in the month of July, 2010. The disease was frivolously taken as the results of the dust storm and dry spells. According to the history, the disease was spread with the dust fill winds after the long drought period in the driest areas of the province of Balochistan and adjoining areas of Iran and Afghanistan. In other areas the disease was spread by the marketed and migrated animals. The signs and symptoms of the disease are comprised of white sticky mucus nasal discharge, nasal blockage with thick scar formation (partially plugging) on nasal orifice, no regurgitation, ultimately the animal goes off feed. A treatment with Amoxicillin Trihydrate (150 mg per ml) at the dose rate of 1ml per 10kg body weight was provided by local veterinarians and other practitioners. A single shot of the above said antibiotic recovered the animal within 12 hour. All the physiological activity restored within 24 hours.
Picture of an affected camel from Sibi Balochistan
The second report came from the Suleiman Mountainous region and Thar Desert of Sind of Pakistan with the same sign and symptoms. The disease did not cause any mortality but was highly epidemic and caused high level of morbidity. The disease responds quick and positively to penicillin. The animal treated recovered in 3 days. The third and alarming report came from Cholistan Desert and southern part of KPK of Pakistan. That testimony was frightening with high mortality. Also a high mortality was also reported from Western Indian state of Rajasthan. Some additional signs were also reported; like sudden death after the onset of the disease and water omission from the mouth of the dead animal just after the death.
Symptoms of the Disease
The symptoms reported from Chaghai Kharan and other parts of Balochistan, Sindh and adjoining areas of KPK were summarized from the reports (sent from the veterinarians from the field) and personal observation of the sick animals brought from the affected areas in the camel market at Quetta are as following.
·Transmission through man and animals
·No age restriction
·Sign appear within 24 hours after introduction of an animal or herd men from the affected areas
·Dullness and depression and loss of appetite.
·Nasal blockage with thick scar formation (partially plugging) on nasal orifice
·Nasal discharge opaque in color and blockage make a hard scar
·Coughing and some animal do open mouth breathing
·Gradual loss in body weight until the disease exists
·Recover within 21 days naturally, if not treated
·Animal recover when the pus discharge from ear (some camel herders observation) and the pus color is bluish white
·Salivation increase during the disease period
·Pus like laceration from the eyes during disease
·Mortality is very rare in Balochistan but reported from the southern part of KPK
·In KPK, some herders observed about 10% mortality in camel herds, which occurs suddenly
The signs and symptoms reported from Cholistan desert of Pakistan were somewhat different and are presented in the ensuing lines.
·The disease is highly epidemic and about 80% of the camel herd was affected
·Sticky white nasal discharge
A dead animal with the new disease in Cholistan (courtesy Dr Sohail Khan)
·A blood tint nasal discharge was observed
·The sick animal usually keeps their head upward
·The animal goes emaciated and weak
·The mortality rate is high
·The death occurs within three days after the onset of the disease.
The postmortem findings were reported from a field veterinarian (Sohail Khan) along with the pictures of sick and dead animals. Larynx of the dead camel was swollen and the whole trachea was lacerated. The lungs were filled with sticky exudates. There were black spots on the lungs and were fused with the ribs. Whole the respiratory tract was filled with the blood tint sticky materials.
The only laboratory finding of the disease reported from scientists in Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CVDL), Tandojam Sindh. According to the findings, Bacterium (Pasturralla) was responsible for this disease, though other types of bacterium like Streptococci were also found in the samples. The same findings are also reported from the laboratory findings from BZU Multan. But still we cannot reach to final conclusion either the disease is viral or bacterial. The findings for bacterial positive can be link with the secondary bacterial infection.
The Scientists say that the symptoms described could point to a respiratory viral infection with bacterial complications taking into account the contagiousness nature of the outbreak. However, they said, it is hard to come up with a definitive diagnosis unless one confirm by laboratory methods. The positive response of the disease to Penicillin might be link with the secondary bacterial infection.
Hanwant Singh of LPPS in Rajasthan from a famous camel keeping community of Raika reported about camel respiratory disease with many camels dying. According to him disease is reported from all corner of the Rajasthan. In contrary to Chaghai Kharan desert, the Raika pastoral of Rajasthan doubt that the disease might be link with the massive rain fall in last moon soon (2010). The disease comes along with nasal discharge and the Animal husbandry department is calling it "bronchopneumonia". Ilse Kohler Rollefson, project director of the LPP in Rajasthan reported that hundreds or more likely thousands of camels are currently dying in India and Pakistan and maybe adjoining countries due to the outbreak of a mysterious respiratory disease to which there is no organized response and which has not been diagnosed.
Bernard Faye, France from the famous institute of CIRAD commented on the disease and said thatprobably there is bacterial contamination but the origin of the disease is probably viral.
There is no doubt that the disease is viral but I doubt if it is PPR. The signs of PPR are quite different, i.e. diarrhea, laceration, gums decomposition and severe emaciation etc.
The scientists in CVDL Tandojam, after lab examination revealed that a Bacterium (pasturralla) was responsible for this disease, though other types of bacterium like Streptoccoi were also found in the samples.
According to Dr. Abdelmalik I. Khalafalla, from Syria, similar respiratory killing disease was reported in Sudan, Ethiopia and kenya (1996-2006) and after lab investigations it turns to be caused by PPR virus, a morbillivirus of the Paramyxoviridae. He advised to send swabs, lymph node and lungs samples to CIRAD or IAEA laboratories for lab diagnosis. In case it a PPR in camel’s susceptible, non infected camels may be vaccinated with sheep PPR vaccine, the same stopped the progress of the disease in Sudan. He said that he is ready to assist.
Renaud Lancelot from CIRAD, France, affirmed that he at CIRAD is very much interested and ready to collaborate. He further suggested that it would also be important to check other pathogens such as Pasteurella and Mycoplasma, the latter being difficult to diagnose. He further offered that samples could be to CIRAD, and they will share samples with Adama Diallo at IAEA.
I would suggest you advise Vet authorities in the affected areas to collect lymph nodes and lungs from dead animals and nasal swabs from clinically sick camels and submit for lab diagnosis by PCR and ELISA. Kindly read the abstract on PPR in camels and let me know about the epidemiology of the disease in Pakistan. I also received similar observation from Iran. Let us establish a network to assist in exchange information on camel diseases. The international scientists suggested that the veterinarians in the affected areas might collect lymph nodes and lungs from dead animals and nasal swabs from clinically sick camels and submit for lab diagnosis by PCR and ELISA.
The Swedish scientists of SVA, Kerstin and Set proposed a task force and also a detailed and practical operating manual for sampling (information from animal keepers and clinical examination), how to sample, which animals to sample, how to submit samples, what to analyze, how to interpret results and how to act depending on the interpretation) would be useful. The manual should be useful not just for these respiratory disease outbreaks but also for other infectious diseases, to be prepared for future outbreaks.