What is an Endemic Disease?

Dr. Kedar Karki Senior Veterinary Officer Veterinary public health Office. Tripureshwor

Introduction An infection is said to be endemic (from Greek en- in or within + demos people) in a population when that infection is maintained in the population without the need for external inputs. An endemic disease is a disease that is always present in a certain population or region. Endemic diseases are often confused with epidemics. However, an epidemic refers to an outbreak of a disease that is spreading through one or more populations, while an endemic disease is one that is constantly present in a group or geographic area. Pandemics are worldwide epidemics. Under certain circumstances, an epidemic can lead to a disease becoming endemic. Endemic diseases are not always present at high levels. They can be relatively rare, but the defining feature of a regional endemic disease is that it can always be found in the population that lives there. Examples: in Nepal

Degnala disease in buffaloes
Introduction Paddy harvesting, threshing and its storage are major agricultural activities in south Asia during the November. Such rice straw is the major fodder for cattle and buffaloes during winter lean period. It´s a fact that rice production needs source of water supply for irrigation as water is indispensable throughout production period. The rice straw should be properly dried before feeding otherwise the undried straw might desiccate and such straw feeding would cause adverse effect in health of cattle and buffaloes.

The harvesting of paddy was adversely affected in Nepal and other south Asian countries Due to long rain during the month of November and December. The rice plants were submerged in the paddy field and the rice straw got desiccated. Due to rain threat the farmers were compelled to store the rice straw without thorough drying.

As a consequence symptoms like drying and necrosis of tail and ear tip, swelling of legs and then drying, necrosis and gangrenous lesion on foot, reduction in milk production by 70-80% were observed in buffaloes fed to such straw. In Nepal such conditions were reported from districts like Jhapa, saptari, siraha, Rautahat, Chitwan, nawalparasi, Kathmandu, Nuwakot,Banke and Lamjung. The vet doctors and technicians working in such areas were treating such condition diagnosing as FMD, Black Quarter etc but without success. What´s in other south Asian countries? There is interesting fact about above mentioned symptoms, geographical location and livestock production system. During 1930s in Punjab Province of Pakistan, the health of buffaloes fed with rice straw from vicinity of Deg River deteriorated with symptoms similar to aforementioned. The British animal health technician J.E.Sirllow working there during that time named the disease with all above symptoms as DEGNALA. But he was unable to pin point the exact cause of that disease. There is evidence that during 1960-70s the veterinarians in Punjab area of Pakistan and India again discussed about this disease. In 1973 the rice straw from disease area of Punjab Ludhiana of India was found to be infected with fungus Fusarium SPP tested in kyu surrey laboratory of UK. The investigators have claimed that due to feeding to fungus infected feed and straw, the toxin produced during metabolism is the cause of disease and symptoms in buffaloes. In present context above mentioned disease is not only prevalent in vicinity of Deg River but also prevalent in all those areas where buffaloes are kept fed with rice straw. In India this disease is seen annually in Panjab, Hariyana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, chhatisgard states. In Nepal Degnala disease was first reported in 1988 in Banke district but epidemic outbreak was in 2000 AD in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Siraha, Saptari, Banke, and Bardia districts. Again this time after 12 yrs this disease is reappeared in above mentioned districts of Nepal situation is not different in other countries in this region and winter rain is responsible for it. Pathogenesis Factor

The cause of symptoms in this disease has been thoroughly studied by this columnist during his Master degree in veterinary medicine. The mycotoxin produced by the metabolism of Fusariam fungus dissolves the collagen and

elastin into collagenase and elastinase respectively. As a result in the dependent parts of ear, tail, foot blood supply is obstructed and ultimately tissue die of anoxia. In addition to this toxin severely affects liver, lungs, heart, and kidney.

Treatment and Control
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If possible avoid feeding of desiccated straw Feed properly dried straw and feed half quantity. Give adequate supplementation of green fodder and tree fodder. Treat the infected with sodium hydroxide @ 1% for 20kg straw. If available use pentasulphate A penta-sulphate mixture (Ferrous sulphate 166 g, copper sulphate 24 g, zinc sulphate 75 g, cobalt sulphate 15 g and magnesium sulphate 100 g ) at the rate of 60 g (1st day) orally, followed by 30 g daily for 10 days with a sufficient quantity of linseed and molasses. @ 60 gm on first day and then @30 gm for next 15 days. Antidegnala liquid @ 10ml orally for 10 days. Mineral mixture and lactoline should be given along with straw.

What can be done for future control? Vet technician and farmers should be trained regarding the prevention. Priority should be given for such disease. Let´s hope winter rain won´t come next year. We can´t wait until symptoms to appear on buffaloes, in winter lean period give above mentioned drugs along with straw. If symptoms appear, report as soon as possible.

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