- 31 Oct 2018
Enzootic bovine leukosis affects cattle. It does not affect humans.
Most infected cattle will show no sign of the disease, but clinical signs can include:
- tumours in many parts of the body, which can appear as bumps in the skin
- problems digesting food and loss of appetite and weight
- weakness, fever and abnormal breathing
- fall in milk production
- bulging eyes
- diarrhoea or constipation
- partial paralysis of the hind legs
Internal tumours may only become apparent once cattle have been killed and butchered, so abattoir workers should look out for them.
If tumours are spotted on a carcass, the abattoir must keep the carcass on site and report it to the APHA so it can be examined.
How enzootic bovine leukosis is spread
The disease can be spread:
- from cows to baby calves during pregnancy or when suckling
- between animals in close contact
- through infected blood on surgical equipment and gloves
Human health implications
There are no human health implications because the disease is not zoonotic.
How to control the disease
An outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases.
The Enzootic Bovine Leukosis (Scotland) Regulations 2000 implement measures for the eradication of leukosis in EU Council Directive 77/391.
Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimise the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of enzootic bovine leukosis to and from your animals.
If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence.