Thursday, November 27, 2014

Zoo vet treating lions develops flu-like symptoms, relieved.

Kanpur: A Kanpur Zoo veterinarian treating the Asiatic lion pair of Lakshmi and Vishnu was relieved of his duty at Lion Safari on Tuesday after he developed flu-like symptoms. While Lakshmi died last week, Vishnu's condition has remained critical.

Sources said that Dr Mohd Nasir had not been keeping well for the last three to four days. He also developed symptoms of viral disease, including redness in eyes, mild fever and vomiting. He also suffered from weakness and infection in throat. Though he had undergone a blood test, symptoms made Dr Nasir apprehend that he could have been afflicted by the zoonotic disease of Laksmi and Vishnu.

Talking to TOI, Dr Nasir said that he also suffered from pain in hands and legs. "On the basis of symptoms like flu, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, tonsillitis, fever and throat infection, I can conclude that I am in grip of the viral disease that can be zoonotic as well. As a veterinarian I stayed close to the ailing lioness and the lion for hours and come in contact with their urine which could have infected me with the virus. My blood test report will come on Thursday. However, I am affected by a viral disease that can be canine distemper."

The 'unknown' viral disease that led to the death of lioness Lakshmi and continues to afflict Vishnu is contagious and zoonotic (disease is transferred from animals to human beings). Experts said that doctors staying in vicinity of animals afflicted by zoonotic viral disease are quite susceptible to it.

Veterinary expert Dr AK Verma said that any doctor coming in contact with an animal suffering from a zoonotic viral disease was susceptible to it. He quoted the example of Rabies, a viral disease which could be contracted by a human being from a dog, rat or any other affected animal.

He added that if lion Vishnu was suffering from canine distemper then the disease could afflict the doctor and all those staying close to the animal like keeper, sweeper etc.

It was the fear of being afflicted by the disease that forced state forest minister SP Yadav to inspect ailing Vishnu from a distance. Though the minister stayed in the safari for around two hours he kept away from the lion. However, safari director KK Singh denied any such thing. "The lion has been quarantined in a cell for treatment. It is already under stress. Our minister therefore observed the lion from a distance and did not over-burden him under stress. Besides, humans going close to animal can be carrier of germs. So going close to the animal is normally avoided," he said.

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