About 50 goats and sheep have been kept in isolation at a village in Tumakuru district of Karnataka after the shepherd tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Tuesday.
This was done after the villagers were alarmed when they noticed that some goats and sheep at Godekere village in Gollarahatti taluk were having respiratory problems, an officer in the animal husbandry department of the district said.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer told PTI: "A few of the animals, whom the shepherd had reared, developed respiratory problems. Now that there is coronavirus scare everywhere, people are afraid that the animals too have contracted the disease."
The villagers sought the help of Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy, who is the Tumakuru district in-charger. The minister, in turn, directed the animal husbandry department to probe the matter following which department officials rushed to the village and collected samples. He has also asked the Deputy Commissioner of the district, K Rakesh Kumar, to investigate the matter.
Veterinary experts suspect that the animals are suffering from Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as goat plague, and mycoplasma infection.
The officer said the samples collected from the animals have been sent to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals and Animal Diseases Laboratory in Bhopal.
According to him, the prevalence of COVID-19 has not been recorded in goats and sheep.
The animals have been quarantined as PPR and mycoplasma too are communicable diseases and can spread to other animals, he added.
However, animals testing positive for the novel coronavirus is not unheard of. In the United States, a tiger at a zoo in New York was the first animal to test positive, according to the US Centre for Disease Control.
The CDC said that the virus can be transmitted to â€ścats, dogs, and a few other types of animalsâ€ť and in the US, they became sick after having come in contact with infected people.