Over the last few months, another viral infection has been spreading across India, this time affecting cattle. Lumpy skin disease is an infectious viral disease of cattle, which often occurs in epizootic form. The disease is characterized by the eruption of nodules in the skin, which may cover the whole of the animal’s body.
Thousands of cattle have died due to the disease in more than eight states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra.
What are the causes of Lumpy Skin Disease?
According to a report by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) disease is caused by a virus called the Capripoxvirus and is “an emerging threat to livestock worldwide”. It is genetically related to the goatpox and sheeppox virus family.
It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, flies, mosquitoes, or ticks. It causes fever, and nodules on the skin and can also lead to death.
Symptoms of Lumpy Skin Disease
Infected animals start losing weight and may have fever and lesions in the mouth, along with a reduced milk yield. Other symptoms include excessive nasal and salivary secretion. Pregnant cows and buffaloes often suffer miscarriages. In some cases, animals can even die due to Lumpy Skin Disease.
Can we prevent the spread?
Control and prevention of Lumpy skin disease can be done in four ways:
- Movement control (quarantine)
- Management strategies
- Slaughter campaigns
At least 97 lakh doses of the vaccination against lumpy skin disease have now been given. Nearly 80,000 cattle have recovered from the viral illness.
Does it affect Humans?
The disease cannot spread among humans or cannot be transferred from infected animals to humans. The disease is not zoonotic, which implies that humans cannot come in contact with the viral infection.
Meanwhile, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department Secretary Jatindra Nath Swain said that states are currently using the ‘goat pox’ vaccine to control lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle.
“The commercial launch of a new vaccine Lumpi-ProVacInd for LSD, developed by two institutes of Agri research body ICAR, will take the next three-four months,” he said.
According to Swain, the goat pox vaccine is 100 percent effective and already 1.5 crore doses have been administered in the affected states.