Lumpy skin disease (LSD)—a contagious viral disease that affects cattle—has claimed the lives of over 7,300 cattle across eight states and one Union Territory so far. Government officials said that vaccination drives have been stepped up to rein in the spread of the deadly disease.
About 74,325 cattle have been affected in Punjab so far, while 58,546 in Gujarat, 43,962 in Rajasthan, 6,385 in Jammu and Kashmir, 1,300 in Uttarakhand, 532 in Himachal Pradesh, and 260 in Andaman and Nicobar.
State governments across the country are taking measures to contain the disease. In some districts of Haryana, the administration has issued orders under Section 144, banning inter-district and intra-district movement of cattle. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has demanded that the central government declare the lumpy skin disease in cows a pandemic. Central teams have been dispatched to Punjab and Gujarat to take stock of the outbreak. In Himachal Pradesh, the state governments have set up control rooms and toll-free numbers and a central control room has also been established to address the concerns of state governments.
Like Himachal Pradesh, various state governments have set up control rooms and toll-free numbers and a central control room has also been established to address the concerns of state governments, government officials said.
According to the ministry’s data, 7,300 cattle have died so far, out of which 3,359 animals died in Punjab, 2,111 in Rajasthan, 1,679 in Gujarat, 62 in Jammu and Kashmir, 38 Himachal Pradesh, 36 in Uttarakhand and 29 in Andaman Nicobar.
India, the world’s largest milk producer, had a cattle population of 192.5 million in 2019, as per the 19th Livestock census. A vaccination drive is underway and 17.92 lakh cattle have been vaccinated so far.
What is LSD?
Lumpy skin disease is a contagious viral disease that affects cattle. It’s caused by the Neethling virus from the Poxviridae family of viruses. The virus is transmitted by insects that feed on blood, including mosquitoes, flies, and ticks.
Once infected, cows display enlarged lymph nodes and nodules on and under their skin. Infected cattle also display runny noses, fever, swelling of the legs, and can suffer permanent damage to their skin.
The disease emerged in Bangladesh in July 2019. It spread in Asia following outbreaks in the Middle East and Europe. India saw the first case of LSD in 2019, in eastern states especially West Bengal and Odisha.
The mortality rate of LSD is 1-2 percent. The disease, however, doesn’t affect human beings.