Source: The Indian Express
Over the last few weeks, nearly 3,000 cattle have died in Rajasthan and Gujarat due to a viral infection called the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD).
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae, also known as Neethling virus.
LSD infects cattle and water buffalo mainly through vectors such as blood-feeding insects.
The disease has been endemic in most African countries, and since 2012 it has spread rapidly through the Middle East, Southeast Europe and West and Central Asia. Since 2019, several outbreaks of LSD have been reported in Asia.
The virus has important economic implications since affected animals tend to have permanent damage to their skin, lowering the commercial value of their hide. Additionally, the disease often results in chronic debility, reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility, abortion, and sometimes death.
Successful control and eradication of LSD relies on early detection followed by a rapid and widespread vaccination campaign.
Impact on India:
Measures being taken
Veterinary hospitals have been directed to provide all the treatments for free. However, the challenge is no specific vaccine against LSDis available in India. Right now, the veterinarians are following the protocols they would follow in case of a pandemic.
Dairy farmers are advised to spray disinfectants in cattle-sheds several times a day to eradicate flies and mosquitoes that act as vectors of LSD.
In case of death of an animal, farmers have been advised to bury the carcass deep inside the earth. But more than that, they have been advised to quarantine the cattle even at the slightest symptom of the disease.
As of now, several states have authorised the use of goat pox vaccinefor treating LSD as the virus is antigenically similar to sheep and goat pox. This will have a devastating impact on the country, where most dairy farmers are either landless or marginal landholders and milk is among the cheapest protein source.