Lumpy Skin Disease back in 4 states, may get worse if no vax
Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), which killed about one lakh cattle in a dozen states of the country in May and June last year, is back this year. It could spread rapidly in the coming days as this disease escalates in the months of May and June. At present, the maximum effect of LSD is in Uttarakhand. Thousands of cases of the infection are also being reported in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), which killed about one lakh cattle in a dozen states of the country in May and June last year, is back this year. It could spread rapidly in the coming days as this disease escalates in the months of May and June. At present, the maximum effect of LSD is in Uttarakhand. Thousands of cases of the infection are also being reported in Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.
Last year, the government had not taken any concrete measures to curb this disease, despite the death of about one lakh cows across the country and about 15 lakh cows getting the infection. A senior scientist of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) told Rural Voice that there was a possibility of the disease spreading again this year and it is now turning into reality. The disease may spread more rapidly in the coming days. The time of the spread of this disease is May and June only. We are seeing its outbreak in about half a dozen states, he said. The surest way to prevent the spread of this disease is the vaccination of cattle.
Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala released the ICAR-developed Lumpy Provac Ind Vaccine for LSD on August 10, 2022. This vaccine is still not available for vaccination due to a lack of regulatory approval, though four private sector companies have taken technology for its production.
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The ICAR scientist says that if the permission to produce Lumpy Provac Ind Vaccine was given on time and its vaccination was done in animals, then the possibility of curbing this disease spreading again after a year would have decreased. So far, the government has allowed only the Goat Pox Vaccine to prevent Lumpy Skin Disease. Through this, the vaccination of animals was also done in the country.
But, a senior scientist at ICAR says that Goat Pox Vaccine is not a completely effective vaccine against LSD. It was used in a situation when no LSD vaccine was available. The efficacy of Goat Pox vaccine is 60 to 70 percent. In Maharashtra vaccination of all cattle was done last year, yet the cattle there were affected by the disease, and thousands of animals died due to this disease.
Farmers may face huge economic losses in the form of animals deaths due to LSD infection among animals. Due to the recurrence of LSD, the dairy industry, which is already facing a decline in milk procurement, is facing a new crisis. LSD severely affects milk production capacity of animals. The lean season of milk production (when production decreases) has already started from April. Therefore, the spread of Lumpy Skin Disease will create difficulties for the consumers as well. In case of decline in milk production, this may lead to an increase in the prices of milk.
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Lumpy Skin Disease spreads in animals through insects. After sucking the blood of a sick animal, a mosquito or fly sits on another animal and infects it. An animal infected with the disease produces less milk and eventually stops giving milk when it becomes more ill. The animal also dies due to this disease. Lumpy Skin Disease was first reported in India in Odisha in 2019. The disease was first detected in the world in Africa in 1929, but in 2000 it spread to most of the countries including Gulf countries, Israel, European countries, Russia, Balkan countries, Bangladesh and Nepal.
There is no cure for LSD and the only prevention is vaccination. Scientists say that about 200 million vaccines are needed in the country. That is why vaccination should be expedited. The government has so far only allowed Goat Pox Vaccine to be administered to animals to prevent Lumpy Skin Disease, while it has only two producers in the country.