Lumpy skin disease (nodular skin disease) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the Poxviridae family, also known as Neithling virus. This disease causes lumps on the skin of animals. After this, the nodules gradually enlarge and then turn into wounds. This appears as a lump of two to five centimeters in diameter all over the body, especially around the head, neck, limbs, udder (mammary gland of female cattle) and genitals. In this disease, the cow starts getting high fever, the cow stops giving milk, the female animals get aborted. Other symptoms include general malaise, watery eyes and nose, fever and sudden decrease in milk production etc.
Lumpy Skin Disease in India
In India, the disease has spread to 15 states within just 16 months. Its first case in India was reported in Mayurbhanj, Odisha in May 2019. Lumpy skin disease has so far spread in Karnataka, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, killing thousands of cows. Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease. This virus belongs to the pox family. Lumpy skin disease is an African disease in origin and occurs in most African countries. The disease originated in the country of Zambia, from where it spread to South Africa.
How the disease spreads
It is spread by mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps, as well as through direct contact with cattle and through contaminated food and water.
Prevention and control: Improvement in management
- New animals should be kept in isolation and examined for lumps and sores on the skin.
- The affected animal should be kept separate from the herd with feed water and treatment, such animal should not be allowed in the grazing area.
- Control mosquito and flies bites by using appropriate insecticides.
- Vaccine – A freeze dried live attenuated vaccine is available which helps to control and prevent the spread of the disease. Vaccinate the remaining animals according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- The control and prevention of nodular skin disease depends on four strategies, which are ‘movement control (quarantine), vaccination, slaughter and management of infected animals’.
As there is no cure for the virus, vaccination is the most effective means of prevention and control. Since it is a viral infection there is no cure but antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic drugs are given to avoid secondary bacterial infection. Skin lesions can be treated with an antiseptic solution consisting of 2 percent sodium hydroxide, 4 percent sodium carbonate and 2 percent formalin.