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Lumpy skin disease spreads in AP, cattle population at risk

The lumpy skin disease (LSD), an infectious viral ailment among the cattle, is spreading in Andhra Pradesh, especially in the north coastal region, triggering concern among the dairy farmers and cattle breeders.

Viral disease experts say LSD is a contagious viral disease and causes fever. It spreads among the cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps by direct contact, as also through contaminated food and water. Accompanied by severe debilitating symptoms, the infection is transmitted from infected cattle to other cattle.

“LSD is caused by goat pox virus, likely spreading through blood feeding insects. Originated from Africa, LSD is declared as endemic in most African and Middle Eastern countries as also India. It has spread to cows in AP two years Odisha reported the first case,” a senior official from the animal husbandry department said.

With stray cases of LSD reported from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Kakinada and other districts close to neighbouring Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the AP animal husbandry department took up massive efforts to vaccinate cattle in all districts. Mass inoculation is being done free of charge by the department.

In Chittoor, district animal husbandry officer (DAHO) Venkat Rao said around 1.50 lakh cows have been vaccinated, while another 2.86 lakh are being enlisted for this. The department has procured 4.60 lakh doses of pox vaccine. So far, no case of LSD was reported in the district, but cows are still vaccinated as a precautionary step.

Rao said the field staff are on the job to educate dairy farmers. Mosquitoes play vectors for the disease. To prevent its spread, cattle sheds should be protected from mosquitoes. “We are conducting awareness camps. The transportation of cattle and cattle fairs have been banned in the district up to October 31,” he said.
Allaying the fear that the disease might spread to humans, the DAHO said no scientific evidence supported such fears.

“There is evidence of animal-to-animal transmissions, but not of animal-to-human transmission. It is not a zoonotic disease. Only buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep are affected. No such case of transmission from animals to humans has been reported so far and cow milk can be consumed after boiling properly”, he said.

According to Tirupati DAHO Dr Venkateswarlu, the district has not seen any LSD case but the preventive vaccination drive against the disease is under way. The district has a cattle population of 2.59 lakh cows and 2.79 lakh buffaloes. The district has so far received 70,000 doses, of which 50,000 doses have been administered to the cattle, and the process was ongoing.

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