Recently a new type of disease causing lumps in the body of cattle’s basically cows, known as lumpy skin disease or LSD is found. As cows are the major sources of milk and milk products in the dairy farms and serves for the economy of our country. Dairy farms and the cows serves as the livelihood for many people throughout the country and also across the world.
Till today’s date, a large number up to 67 thousand cows had been affected by this LSD, across more than 10 states of our country, including Orisha, west Bengal, Maharashtra, etc and some union territories also.LSD has killed about 127 cattles in the state of Maharashtra. The first case was found in the year of 2019 and is still continuing with a great damage to the dairy industries.
As cows are one of the major milk producing sources and serves a major role in the balancing of food chain in the ecosystem, so there is a great need to save the cows from this deadly LSD which is continuously reducing their numbers. So it has become very important to make out some ways so that this can be controlled.
Let us first know what actually this lumpy virus in cows means?
Actually Lumpy skin disease or LSD is an infectious viral disease of the cattle, which often occurs in the epizootic form. LSD virus share it’s antigenic similarities with sheep pox virus and the goatpox virus. It is not a zoonotic virus, meaning the disease cannot be spread to the human species. This is characterized by eruption of nodules in their skin of cattles, which covers the whole of the animal’s body. LSD affects lymph nodes of infected animal, causing the nodes to enlarge and appear like the lumps on the skin, which is where it derives its name from.
Characteristics of LSD includes fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules (measuring 2–5 centimetres (1–2 in) in diameter) on skin and mucous membranes (including those of respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts). Cattle may also develop the edematous swelling in their limbs and may also exhibit lameness.
Which virus basically cause this lumpy skin disease in cows ?
Lumpy skin disease or LSD is caused by a virus in family Poxviridae, genus Capripoxvirus which affects the cattle and the most water buffalo in Africa, the Middle East, and recently, expanding into the southeastern Europe.
Not let us see how this lumpy virus is caused?
Lumpy skin disease virus is likely to be transmitted mechanically between cattles by biting insects, with virus being perpetuated in a wildlife reservoir host, possibly the African Cape buffalo.
Is lumpy skin disease contagious to human beings?
LSD virus is capable of infecting the human beings with direct transmission without the need of insects vector; that most probably by inhalation and certainly by direct contacts with infected materials, infected persons [man to man], and as lab acquired infection.
Do you know how lumpy skin disease is transmitted?
Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease that affects the cattles. It is transmitted by the blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of the flies and mosquitoes, or ticks. It causes fever, nodules on skin and can also lead to the death of the infectant, especially in those animals that have not previously been exposed to this virus.
Outbreak of the LSD-The current outbreak has started in Gujarat and Rajashthan around the month of July and had spread to the other states such as Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar and Uttarakhand by early August. It then spread to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. In the recent weeks, it has been reported in the States Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Jharkhand.
This virus has infected over 16 lakh cattle in 197 districts as of September 11. Of nearly 75,000 cattles that this LSD has killed, more than 50,000 deaths, mostly cows, have been reported from the date of Rajasthan.
How long does this LSD can last?
The complete recovery may take several months and may be prolonged when the secondary bacterial infections occur. Treatment is directed at preventing or controlling the secondary infection by the virus. It may take upto 6 months for the animals severely affected by the LSD virus to recover fully.
Is it safe to consume the milk of infected cattles?
Studies say that it has not been possible to ascertain presence of viable and infectious LSDV virus in the milk or milk products derived from an infected animal. According to an FAO large portion of the milk in Asia is processed after collection and is either pasteurised or boiled or dried in order to make the milk powder.
This process ensures that virus is inactivated or destroyed. So it is safe to consume the milk and milk products from the infected cattles. There is no problem in quality of the milk and milk products, even if you have it after the boiling or without the boiling. It is absolutely safe.
Economic implications of the LSD-The spread of this disease can lead to “substantial” and “severe” economic losses, according to FAO and World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). LSD leads to a reduced milk production as the cattles becomes weak and also loses appetite due to the mouth ulceration. The income losses can also be due to the poor growth, reduced draught power capacity and the reproductive problems associated with the abortions, infertility and lack of semen for the artificial insemination process.
The current outbreak in India has emerged as a challenge for dairy sector. India is the world’s largest milk producing country at about 210 million tonnes annually. India also has largest headcount of cattle and buffalo worldwide. In the state of Rajasthan, which is witnessing the worst impact of this LSD i.e. lumpy skin disease, it has led to the reduced milk production, which lessened by about three to six lakh litres a day. Reports indicates that the milk production has also gone down in the state of Punjab owing to the spread of this disease.
Let us know about the vaccination plan. Scientists has already started preparing vaccines against this disease to control the number of affected individuals from this disease. In a major breakthrough, two of the institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)have developed an indigenous vaccine for LSD i.e. lump skin disease, which the centres are planning to commercialise and roll out in next three to four months.
The Union Ministry of the Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and the Dairying informed that the ‘Goat Pox Vaccine’ is also “very effective” against this LSD and is being used across the affected States to control the spread. As in the first week of September 2022, 97 lakh doses of vaccination have been administered successfully.