A suspected outbreak of bovine ephemeral fever has struck cattle farms in Greater Tainan, animal health officials said yesterday, with 246 suspected cases — about 1 percent of the area’s cattle population — reported over the past week.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said it has alerted cities and counties to step up quarantine measures and is helping farm owners quarantine affected cattle and eliminate mosquitoes to reduce losses and stem the disease’s spread.
The bureau reported that as of Monday night, 60 out of 101 cattle farms in Greater Tainan had reported a total of 246 cattle suspected of having the diseases, with 31 of them dying.
The Greater Tainan Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office warned that with the rainy season approaching, the population of vector mosquitoes, which spread the disease, is expected to increase, putting unprotected cattle at risk.
The disease could be highly contagious at farms where cattle has not received five doses of a vaccine over the past two years and there are insufficient mosquito traps, the office said.
The disease has existed in Taiwan for more than a dozen years and is most prevalent between April and October.
The symptoms include fever, drooling, bronchitis and pneumonia. If not treated in time, affected cattle can die in days. After a cow is infected with the disease, the milk it produces is unsuitable for consumption.
Greater Tainan suffered outbreaks of the fever in 2001 and 2004, resulting in heavy losses for owners of cattle farms.
Wu Ming-pin (吳名彬), the deputy head of the Greater Tainan animal health office, said the office has begun disinfecting cattle farms and getting rid of mosquitoes at locations where cattle have been infected.