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Lumpy Skin Disease: Transmission, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Shikha Goyal

Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is fast spreading in various states in India creating panic among dairy farmers. It has been infecting cattle and bovine animals. 

It is said that the virus is not zoonotic and does not infect humans through the consumption of milk or meat. Basically, it affects the cow and buffalo, and maybe the infection in the latter has been found to be minimal.

What is Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)?

It is a viral disease that is caused by lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), a member of the Capripoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. 

Or we can say that it is caused by infection of cattle or water buffalo with the poxvirus Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). The virus is one of the three closely related species within the genus capripoxvirus and the other two species are Sheeppox virus and Goatpox virus.

Background

As per some sources in 1929, LSD was first described in Zambia. Over the next 85 years, it spread throughout the majority of Africa and into the Middle East. In Greece in Europe, the virus entered in 2015 and also in Caucasus and Russia. Further, the virus spread in 2016 into the east in Balkans, north towards Moscow, and west into Kazakhstan. LSD was first reported in India in August 2019 from Mayurbhanj, Odisha.

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How is LSD transmitted?

Still, information on the transmission of this virus is lacking. Several experimental works has shown that direct transmission from an infected to a naïve animal is very inefficient. Some evidence supports that transmission of the virus is through arthropods like insects or ticks and are termed as virus "vectors". However, it is unclear which vector species are involved in transmission.

As per some researchers, it spreads through mosquitoes, flies, and ticks. Sometimes through saliva and contaminated water and food. The factors determining which cattle develop mild and which develop a severe disease are unknown. One of the significant factors for spreading LSD over large distances can be the movement of infected cattle.

By laboratory diagnosis, the disease can be confirmed with tests available to detect the DNA of the virus or antibodies.

What are the symptoms of LSD?

All over the body of the animal, the disease appears as the nodules of two to five-centimeter diameter mainly around the head, neck, limbs, mammary gland of female cattle, and genitals. And the lumps open up like large and deep wounds. 

Some other clinical signs are general malaise, ocular and nasal discharge, fever, and a sudden decrease in milk production. 

As per the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the mortality rate is less than 10%. 

How is LSD prevented?

Lumpy Skin Disease, control, and prevention depend upon four tactics namely movement control (quarantine), vaccination, slaughter campaigns, and management strategies. Specific control plans vary between countries so advice should be taken properly from the relevant authorities and veterinarians.

No doubt the most effective way to control is the vaccination and a live homologous vaccine consisting of a Neethling-like strain of LSDV is recommended.

What is the treatment of LSD?

Treatment for this virus is still not there but the most effective means of control is prevention by vaccination.  Also, secondary infections in the skin may be treated with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) and also antibiotics when appropriate.

So now we come to know that the Lumpy Skin Disease virus causes severe disease in cattle which is characterised by nodules in the skin. Its transmission may occur through insect vectors and vaccination is the most preventive way to control it. It causes substantial losses in affected herds with significant economic consequences. The disease will also have a devastating impact on the country, where most dairy farmers are either landless or marginal landholders and milk is among the cheapest sources of protein.

Source: nadis
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