Nearly 3,000 cows have perished in India over the past few weeks as a result of the viral infection Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), which has spread throughout the two states. Bhupendra Patel, the chief minister of Gujarat, went to Kutch’s impacted areas to assess the situation (August 3).
At the same time, Kutch’s District Development Officer Bhavya Verma informed The Indian Express that the area was “beyond the peak of the rise of LSD” and that the number of daily infections has now started to stabilise.
On July 27, the Gujarati government outlawed the movement of animals from the 14 areas that were impacted. A total of 11 lakh cows have received the illness vaccination, and the National Dairy Development Board has given Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Punjab 28 lakh doses of the goat pox vaccine that it purchased from a private company named Hester Biosciences. A free helpline, 1962, has also been set up to assist dairy farmers and livestock herders in combating the disease.
The Lumpy Skin Disease: What Is It?
The Lumpy Skin Condition (LSD) disease is brought on by the Capripoxvirus virus, which is described in a report by GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, as “an increasing hazard to livestock worldwide.” It has genetic ancestry with the sheeppox and goatpox virus families.
Cattle and water buffalo are primarily infected by LSD by vectors like blood-feeding insects. Circular, hard nodes that resemble lumps and form on the animal’s hide or skin are indicators of infection.
Animals with the infection begin losing weight right away, and they may also experience fever, oral sores, and decreased milk production. Excessive nasal and salivary secretion are additional signs. Miscarriages occur often in pregnant cows and buffaloes, and in some situations, ill animals may also die as a result.
Have outbreaks of Lumpy Skin Disease previously happened? Are people in danger?
The presence of LSD in India has already been reported. Most African nations have experienced endemic cases of the disease, which has moved quickly through the Middle East, Southeast Europe, and West and Central Asia since 2012. In Asia, there have reportedly been a number of LSD outbreaks since 2019. Punjab province in Pakistan reported the deaths of over 300 cows from LSD in May of this year.
A strain of the virus was found in Maharashtra in September 2020. Gujarat has intermittently reported cases throughout the past five years, but at this time, the quantity of reported deaths raises questions about whether immunisation can keep up with the disease’s development.
Mortality rates of 1 to 5% are regarded as typical by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), of which India is a member. The illness is not zoonotic, which means that humans cannot contract it and that it does not transfer from animals to humans.
Although the virus is not contagious to humans, Prof. J. B. Kathiriya, Assistant Professor at the department of veterinary public health and epidemiology at Kamdhenu University’s College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry in Junagadh, said that “milk produced by an infected animal will be fit for human consumption after boiling or pasteurisation as these processes will kill the viruses, if any, in the milk.”
Treatment and Preventive Measures for Cattle with Lumpy Skin Disease
Vaccines against attenuated virus may aid in limiting spread.
Alarmingly, lumpy skin disease has recently moved outside of its native continent of Africa. Restrictions placed on quarantines have not been very effective. The most successful way to control the disease and to stop its spread in the Balkans was vaccination with an attenuated virus.
It is advised to administer medicines to reduce secondary illness and provide proper nursing care, however treatment may not be possible due to the vast number of sick animals in a herd.