Over 300 cows have died of lumpy skin disease and hundreds of others affected by the viral infection in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease that affects cattle. It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies and mosquitoes, or ticks.
It causes fever, nodules on the skin and can also lead to death, especially in animals that that have not previously been exposed to the virus. Control options include vaccinations and culling of infected animals.
According to farmers in Bahawalnagar, some 300 kilometres from Lahore, their cattle started getting infected with the disease about three weeks ago.
The farmers said they approached the district administration and the livestock department but they did not bother to respond.
“Private veterinary doctors treated the ailing cattle but they couldn’t survive. Over 300 cows worth millions of rupees died within three weeks,” said Khalid Hasnain, a farmer.
He said the disease is still spreading in the area.
“If the authorities concerned do not take immediate steps, a large number of cattle may be killed by the disease,” he said, adding that the the government should pay special attention to the matter.
Punjab Livestock Department official Rizwana Chaudhry said non-availability of vaccination – goat pox – was one of the reasons for the spread of lumpy skin disease.
“The department doesn’t have enough funds to acquire the vaccine for the cattle. We have managed to vaccine 42,000 cattle in the affected district,” she said.
Over 1,100 cattle, most of them cows, have been affected by the disease in Bahawalnagar.