Laishram Kabita Devi
The outbreak of deadly Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) in cattle has started spreading throughout Manipur with reports coming in that some cattles have died and many more have been infected.
Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is a pox viral disease of livestock belonging to the Genus Capri Poxvirus with a major socio-economic impact. The disease is characterized by fever, nodules on the skin, mucous membranes and internal organs, enlarged lymph nodes, reduction in milk production, oedema of the skin and sometimes death. Lumpy Skin Disease virus is host specific and causes disease only in the cattle.
HOW DO CATTLE BECOME INFECTED ?
The principal means of transmission is believed to be by arthropod vector. Though no specific vector has been identified to date, mosquitoes, biting flies could play a role in the transmission of the virus. Infections increase during wet summer and autumn months when there are more flies. Calves can be infected by drinking milk from a cow which has the disease. Capripox viruses are very resistant and remain viable for long periods, on or off the animal host eg they may persist for up to 6 months in shaded animal pens, and for at least 3 months in dry scabs on the fleas, skin and hair from infected animals.
HOW IS LSD TREATED ?
Sick animals are to be kept in isolation. Symptomatic treatment of affected animals may be carried out in consultation with Veterinarian. Administration of antibiotics for 5-7 days to check secondary infection may be considered on case to case basis to check secondary bacterial infection. Administration of anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine preparation may also be considered. In case of pyrexia, paracetamol can be given. Application of antiseptic ointment with fly-repellent property over the eroded skin is recommended. Feeding of liquid food, soft feed and fodder and succulent pasture is recommended for the infected animals. All cattle should be vaccinated annually (once a year), and preferably before the summer rains to ensure good protection. Calves which are under 6 months old and were born to cows which have been vaccinated or had the diseases, do not need to be vaccinated. However, as soon as they are 6 months old, they have to be vaccinated annually.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT AND CONTROL LUMPTY SKIN DISEASE IN YOUR HERD ?
Awareness campaign about the disease and its clinical signs. Immediate isolation of sick or infected animals from the healthy animals. Any animal suspected of febrile nodular skin disease should not be introduced into the unaffected holding or farm. Vectors control should be made to reduce the vector population in affected areas. Unaffected animal should be applied with insect (ticks, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, midges) repellent to minimize mechanical transmission of LSD. Ensure strict control of animal movement from affected areas to free areas and local animal markets. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of affected personnel, premises and contaminated environment including vehicle playing through the affected animal holdings should be carried out. In cases of mortality, animal carcass should be disposed of by deep burial. So, prevention is the cheapest and best method of control of the disease. If your animals are protected, you will not suffer any production or financial losses as a result of the ill effects of the disease.
The writer is a 3rd year student of BVSc, College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Aizawl, Mizoram.