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Lumpy Skin Disease

Lumpy skin disease affects cattle and water buffalo.  It does not affect humans.

It has never occurred in Great Britain.

Lumpy skin disease is a notifiable disease.  If you suspect it you must tell the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately.  Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot lumpy skin disease

Infected cattle and water buffalo may have a fever and their milk production may fall. Other signs may include:

  • nodules: small bumps beneath the skin in the nose, mouth and on the body
  • yellowish-grey lesions (damage to the skin) on the tongue
  • swollen and tender udder or testicles
  • discharge from the eye and nose
  • salivation from the mouth
  • bulls becoming sterile and cows having abortions
  • swollen lymph nodes, for example beneath the neck

The nodules may form a hardened crust, which carries the infection.

How lumpy skin disease is spread

Lumpy skin disease is thought to be spread by biting flies and mosquitoes, which feed on the skin lesions.

Minor routes of infection are close contact with infected animals and contaminated food and water.

Preventing lumpy skin disease

You can help prevent disease by practicing strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of lumpy skin disease APHA vets will investigate.

If lumpy skin disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with Scottish Government's Exotic Animal Disease Contingency Framework Plan and the Lumpy Skin Disease control strategy for Great Britain. (NB the attached control strategy is a consulation draft: The final version of the control strategy wil be published in spring 2018).  

What happens when LSD is suspected or confirmed

If you suspect LSD you must report it immediately to your local APHA office.  Failure to do so is an offence.

APHA vets will investigate – they usually visit your premises and carry out an enquiry.  The APHA duty vet will tell you what restrictions should be applied to your premises before the APHA veterinary inspector arrives.

If the APHA veterinary inspector suspects LSD, they will take samples for testing (this may involve killing the suspected animal before taking samples).

They put restrictions on your premises. This means you must at least stop moving animals susceptible to LSD on or off the premises.  It can also include stopping the movement of anything that can transmit disease, like meat products, equipment or vehicles or other livestock.

Restrictions remain in place until the investigation is complete and an exotic notifiable disease is ruled out.

If LSD is confirmed:

  1. Action will be taken on the infected premises to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, including movement restrictions.  This will include culling all susceptible animals (i.e. cattle). Premises are then cleaned and disinfected with strict rules on restocking.
  2. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), on behalf of Scottish Government, investigates where the disease came from and whether it has spread.
  3. APHA puts restrictions on all premises where the disease is likely to have spread from or to (for example when animals have been moved).
  4. Scottish Ministers would declare a protection zone of at least 20km around the infected premises, and a further surveillance zone of at least 20km.  These larger movement control zones are to allow for the travelling distance of any insects that may be carrying the virus.  In these zones (referred to as the ‘infected area’) special restrictions for cattle and cattle products would be put in place.  
  5. Consideration would also be given to the introduction of emergency compulsory vaccination programme in addition to the culling policy.

Legislation relating to lumpy skin disease

Lumpy skin disease is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.

EU Council Directive 82/894/EEC on measures for the control of certain animal diseases and Council Directive 92/119/EEC on the notification of animal diseases also apply.