People, Environment

Mysterious Disease Kills More Animals Near E. Tehran

Mysterious Disease Kills More Animals Near E. TehranMysterious Disease Kills More Animals Near E. Tehran

The number of wildlife fatalities in Sorkheh Hesar region in east Tehran has reached 25, baffling environmentalists and officials who have not yet discovered the cause of death.

Fifteen carcasses were found recently, which in addition to the ten found two weeks ago raise the tally to 25. Reports suggest pregnant ewes (female sheep) were the main victims.

The Iran Veterinary Organization, which has been running tests on the corpses for weeks, has not yet determined the cause of death.

Some had initially suggested that an outbreak of ovine rinderpest or PPR — a contagious disease affecting small ruminants — was to blame for the sudden death of the animals, but the fact that ewes, and not rams (male sheep), make up the majority of fatalities has cast doubt over the theory, ILNA reported.

“Johne’s disease or Bluetongue disease are more probable causes of death here,” according to the director of the Wildlife Office at the provincial DOE office, Muhammad Karami, who himself was the one to initially suggest PPT was to blame.

Paratuberculosis or Johne’s (pronounced “Yo-nees”) disease is a chronic, contagious bacterial disease that affects the small intestine of ruminants.

Bluetongue is an insect-borne, viral disease primarily of sheep, occasionally goats and deer and, very rarely, cattle. The disease is non-contagious and is only transmitted by insect vectors.

Also known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), ovine rinderpest is a contagious disease affecting small ruminants such as goats and sheep and has an 80% mortality rate in severe cases.

If the tests confirm PPR as the cause of death, Sorkh-e-Hessar will become the second region in the province where the disease is found since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20. The first incidence of the disease was reported in Khojir National Park in eastern Tehran.