Lumpy skin disease kills 48,133 cattleMore than a million animals have been infected by the viral disease across Nepal so far.
More than 48,000 cattle have died so far from lumpy skin disease that has affected all of the country’s 77 districts.
According to the latest data available with the Department of Livestock Services, 48,133 cattle died and 1,054,055 have been infected by the highly contagious viral disease since its outbreak in April.
“Farmers in Sudurpaschim and Karnali provinces have been greatly affected,” said Dr Chandra Dhakal, information officer at the Department of Livestock Services. “Currently, the virus has been found to be spreading in the cattle of Bagmati Province and those in the hills and mountainous parts of other provinces as well.”
Lumpy skin disease, also called LSD, is caused by a virus, an infectious disease that primarily affects cattle. The virus is from the family Poxviridae. The virus mainly spreads through blood-sucking vectors—ticks, mites, and mosquitoes.
According to the data, as many as 309,964 cattle have been infected in Sudurpaschim Province alone, which is the highest for any province of Nepal. Of the infected cattle in Sudurpaschim, 25,601 have died and 36,392 have active infection.
Karnali Province recorded 217,135 cases of the infection with 6,741 deaths. As many as 32,343 animals are still recuperating.
Koshi Province recorded 214,645 cases and 4,814 deaths. Officials say 16,651 cattle there are currently infected. Bagmati Province has recorded 127,486 cases, followed by Lumbini Province at 84,000, Madhesh Province at 52,686 while Gandaki has reported 48,139 cases. As many as 4,000 cattle died in Lumbini Province, followed by Bagmati Province—3,476, Gandaki Province—1,801 and Madhesh Province 1,700.
Due to widespread infection in cattle, farmers incurred heavy losses—loss of animals, decline in dairy production, and the consequent impact on farming. It takes 20 to 30 days or more to get animals infected with the viral disease cured. Officials concede that farmers in the hill districts lost more of their oxen due to their use in farming at a time when cases are still rising.
“Budget has been allocated for medication and vaccination of the cattle but we do not have any programme to address the affected farmers,” said Dhakal. “We have procured some medicines for symptomatic treatment of the infection and vaccines, which can prevent animal deaths but we cannot help them recover the loss caused by the infection in their cattle.”
Dhakal conceded that some animals might have died of vaccination at the time of infection due to double impact—infection of virus and stress effects of the vaccination.
Veterinarians say the infected cattle have acute fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, salivation, and soft blister-like nodules all over their bodies.
After contracting the infection, the animals immediately start losing weight due to difficulty eating, which ultimately affects their milk yield. Pregnant cows and buffaloes could suffer a miscarriage and infected animals could sometimes die.
As the virus is not zoonotic, the chances of humans getting infected are slim, say experts.