Lumpy Skin Disease Virus


  • Several states, including Gujarat and Rajasthan, have been battling the outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a viral infection of cattle.

The Lumpy Skin Disease Virus

  • LSD is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which is a virus of the capripoxvirus genus in the poxviridae family. Sheeppox virus and goatpox virus are the other members of the genus capripoxvirus.
  • The LSDV mainly affects cattle — cow and its progeny, and the Asian water buffaloes.
    • According to a 2021 report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, LSD outbreaks occur in epidemics several years apart.
  • As per the report, the existence of a specific reservoir for the virus is not known, nor is it known as to how and where the virus survives between epidemics.

Prevalence of Lumpy Skin Disease

  • According to the FAO report, LSD was long restricted to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • However, over the past decade, it spread to the Middle East and Turkey. From 2015 onward, it has impacted the Balkan (southeast Europe) countries, Caucus (eastern Europe) and Russia. ICAR develops vaccine for Lumpy Skin Disease in cattle - The Hindu
  • LSD entered India, Bangladesh and China in July 2019. Since then, outbreaks of the disease have been reported from 20 Indian states – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

How it spreads

  • The LSDV spreads through blood-sucking vectors like ticks and mites like houseflies, mosquitoes, etc. It also spreads through contaminated water, fodder and feed.
  • Mosquito and housefly infestations remain at their peak during the monsoon, and veterinary scientists and government officers blame a very wet July for the rapid spread of the infection in Gujarat this year.
  • Scientists have been advising isolation of infected animals from the healthy ones in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. However, there is a problem of feral cattle in Gujarat the state where cow slaughter is prohibited and scientists say these free-ranging cattle could also be a reason for rapid spread of LSD.


  • LSDV attacks the circulatory system of an animal and causes vasculitis or inflammation of blood vessels and lesions in various organs like liver, lungs, spleen, lymph nodes etc.
  • In turn, it causes epidermis, making the outer surface of the skin to get separated from dermis – the inner layer of the skin.
  • This, in turn, leads to formation of lumps or nodules on an animal’s body.

How does it lead to death

  • The virus had caused necrotic vasculitis or death of living tissues in local areas and fibrosis in various organs of infected cattle. Such a situation leads to failure of various organs, and eventually death.

Source: IE

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