Lumpy skin disease, an emerging problem in Pakistan!

Lumpy skin disease, an emerging problem in Pakistan!

Lumpy skin disease has now become an emerging problem of livestock in Pakistan. It is a production-limiting viral disease and is responsible for the formation of nodules on the skin. The incubation period varies from 3 to 4 weeks.


Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a viral disease of large ruminants. It is responsible for inducing large economic losses to farmers. Neethling pox virus is the main etiologic agent. Outbreaks reported in different regions of the world. Ticks, mosquitoes and flies involved in its transmission. As it is a viral disease, we can give support treatment only to avoid a secondary bacterial infection. Preventive measures include biosecurity, quarantine and vaccination of animals.


Lumpy skin disease is a serious disease of cattle (Bos indicus Y bos taurus) and buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Neethling pox virus (Capripox-virus) is the main causal agent of the disease. bos taurus is more vulnerable to this disease compared to Bos indicus. This virus does not infect humans. It belongs to the same genus as the sheep and goat pox virus. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) classified it as a notifiable disease due to its impact on the economy. The mortality rate is low, but the disease causes serious production losses. It is responsible for lower feed intake, milk production, body condition score, fertility and abortion in cows.


Initial reports were available from sub-Saharan Africa. It later spread to many African countries in the 1970s. In Israel, the slaughter of infected animals reduced the incidence of the disease. In the Middle East, confirmed cases in Kuwait (1991), United Arab Emirates (2000), Oman (2010), Jordan, and Iran (2013). European countries reported their presence through the illegal movement of animals. Countries like Russia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo and India also reported their presence. Word of mouth reports from various parts of the country would indicate that the disease has recently entered Pakistan.

Figure 1. Global distribution of contagious nodular skin disease.

Origin and transmission

Although the excretion of the virus occurs in the lacrimal and nasal secretions, semen and milk of infected animals, the risk by direct contact is lower and transmission occurs mainly by vectors. Also, biting flies (biome fasciata), mosquitoes (aedes natrionus Y Culex mirificens) and ticks (amblyoma Y ripicephalus spp.) are responsible for its transmission. Experimental transmission through semen also occurs.

Figure 2. Short and long transmission paths.

Risk factor’s

All types of cattle are susceptible. Lactating, weak and young animals develop more severe disease compared to healthy, robust and mature animals. Although wild animals do not carry this virus, they can act as reservoir hosts. Experimentally infected sheep and goats develop skin lesions, but no systematic signs have been reported. In addition, outbreaks are related to high arthropod activity and rainfall. Capripox-The virus is resistant to freezing and thawing.

Pathogenesis and clinical presentation

The incubation period varies from 2 to 4 weeks in case of natural infection. Initially, there is a rise in body temperature that lasts for a period of a week, followed by a runny nose, tearing, salivation, and a limp. Intradermal nodules begin to develop throughout the body. Mostly, the nodules grow all over the skin, but in some cases they can develop in the nostrils and turbinates and can cause snoring and nasal obstruction. Subsequently, the nodules quickly disappear with few exceptions, where they persist as hard lumps.

figure 3. Formation of nodules on the skin in LSD.

differential diagnosis

Pseudo-nodular skin disease (Allerton’s or Gulwaddee’s disease)

Bovine herpes virus-2 or bovine mamamitis virus is responsible for this disease. Clinical signs include circular necrotic lesions with a central area of ​​crust. The scab falls off later, leaving depigmented and hairless areas. The disease lasts up to 14 days and does not cause the death of the animal.


  • There is no specific treatment for this disease.
  • Antibiotics given to prevent secondary bacterial infections such as sulfonamide.

Prevention and control


  • attenuated smallpox-virus used to modulate the host’s immune system against LSD. These live attenuated vaccines contain a live microbe that has been weakened in the laboratory so that it cannot cause disease.
  • Infectious microbes can stimulate the generation of memory cell and humoral immune responses.
  • Do not administer the vaccine to immunosuppressed and malnourished animals.

vector control

Vector traps (light and sticky traps) and acaricides (pyrethroids, organophosphates and carbamates, etc.) generally used to prevent disease transmission.


  • Isolation and inspection of infected animals limit the spread of the disease.
  • Quarantine of newly purchased animals.
  • Restrict the movement of infected animals.
  • Sacrifice of infected animals.


  1. Dr. Rana Muhammad Athar Ali, M.phil. Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
  2. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, retired. Professor Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
  3. Dr. Mughees Aizaz Alvi, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
  4. Dr. Muhammad Saqib, Chairman, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Other readings

  1. OIE Terrestrial Manual, Chapter 2.4.14. Nodular skin disease. Viewed at: Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  2. Tuppurainen ESM, Oura CAL. Review: Lumpy skin disease: an emerging threat to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Cross-border Emerg Dis. 2012;59:40-48.

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