What is Lumpy Skin Disease?
Lumpy skin disease (Neethling virus) is an infectious, enzootic, eruptive, and occasionally fatal disease. It is a viral disease. Its causative agent belongs to the family Poxviridae and genus Capripox virus, closely related to sheep and goat pox virus. The origin of Lumpy skin disease is Zambia, where it was found in 1929 (Moris 1939). At that time it was considered to be the effect of poisoning or hypersensitivity caused by biting insects. Then it drove to Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa between 1913 and 1945. After that, it moved to many nearby countries. In the Middle East, Lumpy skin disease was reported in 1984, in Oman in 1986, in Kuwait in 1989, in Israel in 1993, and in Egypt in 1998. It had become epizootic so it showed less morbidity due to sheep pox vaccination.
Lumpy skin disease and sheep pox virus are so closely related that serological testing can not differentiate them. Except for vaccination implementation, slaughtering policies for infected cattle and quarantine measures were also the key factors in eradicating the disease from those countries.
After causing economic losses in the 20th century, it invaded to 21st century and spread to the African continent in 2007-2011. In July 2019, it invaded Asia. Lumpy skin disease in cattle said hello to Bangladesh, China, and India. These three countries dominate in lion’s share of Bovines. It also sojourned to Afghanistan. According to a survey in December 2020, which clinch that Lumpy skin disease vitiates 23 countries in South, East, and Southeast Asia.
Lumpy Skin Disease in Pakistan
Pakistan has been assessed with moderate uncertainty due to several reasons, such as:
• Trading with LSD-infected countries
• Poor biosecurity of the bovine production system
• Less availability of vaccine
In Pakistan, the Lumpy skin disease virus outbreak cropped up in November 2021. The disease was first reported in Jamshoro district in Sindh Province. The government declared the disease on March 4 after being diagnosed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. The government took action but the damage has already been done by the Lumpy skin disease virus.
It mainly affects cattle and is also seen in buffaloes who play a role as a carrier. After hitting hard on cattle, Lumpy skin disease also targets the buffaloes. It affects more cross-bred bovines as well as exotic breeds and less indigenous breeds.
Clinical Signs of the Lumpy Skin Disease in Cattle
Lumpy skin disease has clinical signs like pyrexia, nodules on the skin, limbs, back, perineum, and genital organs, animal remain off feed, leads to decrease milk production, superficial lymph nodes enlargement, animal loose body weight, nasal and lacrimal secretion, infected animal exhibit lameness and edema of limbs and brisket.
Transmission of the Lumpy Skin Disease
LSD is non-zoonotic but the virus transmits from infected animal to healthy animal. LSD is transmitted by blood-sucking species such as flies, and mosquitoes, by direct contact with infected animals, and through contaminated equipment used on the infected animals.
Economic Impact of the Lumpy Skin Disease on Cattle
If we crystalize its economic impact as LSD wreaks havoc on millions of cattle farmers. LSD outbursts hit hard the dairy farmers and meat sellers who were eking out their living through the selling of milk and meat. Its ravaging effects accelerate the emaciation in affected animals, and cause damage to hides which expedites the huge loss to the hide industry in Punjab hide trading declined by 50%, which cause devastating losses not only to the owner but also to the country. It also affects the fertility of infected animals causing temporary or permanent infertility because of the usage of infected bull semen. It also leads to abortion which causes grievous loss to the owner. It also causes mastitis and a decline in milk production which leads to other metabolic disorders. In addition, it disrupts the trading of bovines and their byproducts from LSD-infected countries. LSD morbidity rate is 5-45% while the mortality rate is 5-10%.
Albeit the disease is epizootic and endemic, and it doesn’t transmit to human beings but neither the traders buying the cows nor butchers are selling the meat for that reason cow owners are disposing of the carcass. Farmers are financially overwhelmed as thousands of cows have been infected and they had to cull them to save other healthy animals. Meat can be used after proper cooking, and pasteurized or well-boiled milk can be consumed. Most of the farmers are illiterate and are not aware of prophylactic measures for disease and are suffering a great deal from the loss of their animals. It is ruining the lives of cattle farmers. In Punjab, about 300 animals died due to LSD, and many more are hit hard by it. During the earlier upsurge, a few hundred died in Sindh while about 36000 are affected by the disease. A little while back, according to Livestock Department’s Directorate General over 53000 cattle have been affected by the virus, of which 571 have died. Moreover, the Sindh government banned the use and consumption of milk, meat, and other byproduct of LSD-affected animals. The government is taking heed of the annihilation of LSD by the implementation of vaccination programs. The government imported the vaccine from Turkey. About 11.39 million cattle have been vaccinated. Veterinarians are working on it.
Diagnosis of the Lumpy Skin Disease in Cattle
Lumpy skin disease is diagnosed by virus isolation, virus identification, and PCR. In the field, it is diagnosed by clinical signs with the appearance of nodules on the body.
Vaccines for Lumpy Skin Disease in Pakistan
Vaccines that are working in Pakistan for the Neethling strain of lumpy skin disease virus are:
• Mervac (USA)
For best results, use immune boosters within a gap of 2-3 days before and after vaccination.
Treatment of the Animals Affected by Lumpy Skin Disease
LSD has no specific treatment because of its viral nature but Allopathic remedies are used to prevent secondary bacterial infections. Allopathic remedies include:
• Mepramine maleate
As 62.84% of people belong to rural areas in Pakistan, where Ethnoveterinary medicine is practiced more before approaching a veterinarian for Allopathic medicine. Ethnoveterinary remedies include herbal ingredients for external applications and oral preparations.
For oral use, the ingredients are:
1. Betal leaves 10 numbers
2. Black pepper 10 grams
3. Salt 10 grams
4. These ingredients are blended to make a paste mixed with jaggery
5. Feed one close every 3 hours for 2 weeks
6. Prepare the dose freshly
For external applications, use the following recipe:
1. Garlic 10 pearls.
2. Turmeric powder 20 gram
3. Neem 1 handful
4. Acalpha 1 handful
5. Coconut oil 500 ml
6. Mehndi leaves 1 handful
7. Tulsi leaves 1 handful
8. Blend these all ingredients and make a paste to use
What Should We Do to Protect Animals from Getting the Disease?
The following measures should be taken to protect animals against the disease:
• Vaccinate the animals
• Good nursing care
• Treat the animals immediately with clinical signs
• Testing should be regulated by the authorities for subclinical diagnosis
• Quarantine and movement control of the sick animals
• Use of insecticides with fly repellents
• Isolate the infected animals because of its direct transmission from an infected animal to a healthy animal
• Educate the farmers about its prophylactic measure
• Ensure extension activities for awareness of cattle owners
• Make sure access veterinarians to small-scale farmers in each village for immediate diagnosis and treatment before the huge loss
• Corroborate those butchers who are not sailing infected animal’s meat and its byproducts;
• Proper planning should be designed by the Government for the eradication of disease
• Restricted trading across national and international borders
• National legislation plans for LSD extermination
• Enhance surveillance
• Disinfect the place of infected animals
• Make sure the cleanliness of animals farms
• Epidemiological investigations
• Awareness campaigns
• Record keeping of vaccinated animals
• Strict national and international inspections
• Cull the infected animals
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Author: Muqadas Noor, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan-Pakistan
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