Measures needed to prevent bovine 'lumpy skin disease' from spreading: Ministry

November 07, 2020 - 08:50
The Animal Health Department would co-operate with localities and businesses to trial the use a vaccine for goat pox on cattle in LSD-infected communes.


A cow infected with lumpy skin disease (LSD). — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Duy

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến has recently called on several localities to take prompt action to prevent and control the spread of viral lumpy skin disease (LSD) among cattle.

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is caused by the capripox virus, and cannot be transmitted to humans.

It is believed that arthropod vectors, direct contact, contaminated food and water and iatrogenic means (for example, repeated use of needles on different animals) can all spread the disease.

According to veterinary agencies, the disease had been reported in the northern mountainous provinces of Lạng Sơn and Cao Bằng since mid October.

In Lạng Sơn Province’s Quyết Thắng and Yên Bình communes and Cao Bằng Province’s Lý Quốc Commune, 231 cases have been detected, and 19 animals have been culled.

Test samples taken from several farms in the area showed that the disease might be spreading to other communes in the two provinces.

The disease could also have spread to other provinces undetected because many farmers had sold suspected cows, Tiến said in a meeting earlier this week.

The risk of the disease transmission further was very high, he said.

“The disease cannot pass to humans so there is no need to panic, but we do need to prepare measures to prevent the disease from spreading,” said the deputy minister.

Local authorities needed to inform the public about the disease for early detection and timely prevention, he said.

He called on farmers and traders not to sell, trade or slaughter cattle with symptoms of the illness, and instead report suspected cases to local authorities.

Local governments would cull all cattle that tested positive for the virus or showed typical signs of the illness.

Farms should be disinfected regularly for three consecutive weeks if any cases were found.

Local authorities were requested to review and compile statistics on households that raised buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep to detect any signs of disease early.

For other localities where cattle did not show signs of the disease, it was necessary to instruct farmers how to promptly detect cases of suspected disease and then report them to veterinary agencies, the deputy minister said.

Nguyễn Văn Long, deputy director of Animal Health Department, said that the disease transmission route was through insect bites such as from mosquitoes, flies and ticks; animal-to-animal transmission through pathogens; and shared drinking troughs, feeding and milking areas.

Therefore, the control and destruction of intermediate hosts was an important factor to control the disease, said Long.

The Animal Health Department would co-operate with localities and businesses to trial the use of a vaccine for goat pox on cattle in LSD-infected communes, he continued.

“The virus that causes LSD is in the same family as goat pox with over 95 per cent of antigenic similarity and genetic structure,” said Long.

“International organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and many countries have used goat pox vaccine to prevent LSD,” he said.

The Animal Health Department had also been studying the epidemiological and virus characteristics to produce an official LSD vaccine in the near future, he added.

Pawin Padungtod, a representative of the FAO in Việt Nam, said that despite its low mortality rate, LSD had serious economic impacts because sick animals suffered long debilitation, weight loss, temporary or permanent stop of milk production, mastitis, and miscarriages, as well as long recovery time.

However, getting rid of the sick cattle is not easy due to the large number of animals and their high economic value.

Local authorities have asked the Government to offer financial assistance to farmers, especially those in poor mountainous areas, if they have to cull their animals. — VNS