Lumpy skin disease outbreak in Saurashtra; 39 dead animals: Government

The government takes measures to control the epidemic spread in animals; over 25,000 cattle vaccinated in affected areas

Cattle infected with lumpy skin disease in Gujarat. Photo: Himanshu Bhayani

Some 1,229 cattle in five districts of Gujarat have been infected with Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), an infectious viral disease, in the past month. Some 39 of the animals died, according to data recently shared by the district Panchayats with the state livestock department.

Six cows died in Kutch district, eight in Jamnagar, 21 in Dwarka and four in Porbandar, according to the data.

Lily Down to earth’s coverage of lumpy skin disease

The LSD outbreak started in Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts. They are also the most affected.

One of the oldest cattle shelters in Dwarka is the Dwarka Gaushala, which is 135 years old and had nearly 70 cows until recently.

“Half of the 70 were infected. Five died. The others were treated and showed improvement and started eating. Cows infected with LSD stop eating. They feel tired and tears continuously flow from their eyes,” Dwarka Gaushala volunteer Paresh Jhakharia told this reporter.

Symptoms of LSD mainly consist of fever, excretion of fluid from the eyes and nose, discharge of saliva from the mouth, and blisters on the body. The animal stops eating and has problems chewing or eating, which leads to reduced milk production. If an animal is pregnant, the calf dies.

Treating LSD

The administration has taken measures to contain the outbreak. Data pointers shared by the livestock department indicated that preventive measures such as isolation and treatment of affected animals, vaccination, on-site vector control and awareness raising were being taken.

“We had conducted a telemedicine session for a cow shelter in Kutch, where veterinarians from Karnataka and Odisha were consulted. They advised us to prepare an Ayurvedic paste and apply it on the infected cows with the administration of allopathic medicines,” said Vallabh Kathiria, ex-chairman of the National Kamdhenu Commission and current Lok Sabha member from the constituency of Rajkot.

Kathiria visited a cow shelter in Kutch, where 1,000 cows are kept. He said: “There were around 12 to 15 cows, which showed symptoms of LSD and were kept in isolation. Therefore, the spread of the disease was not as intense as in other districts.

He added that vaccines were the only cure for an LSD epidemic. Significant livestock vaccination measures have therefore been taken.

Government records showed 25,305 cows had been vaccinated up to June 9, 2022.

A cow suffering from LSD. Photo: Himanshu Bhayani

“A vaccination campaign is underway within a radius of five kilometers across the infected areas of Gujarat as per central guidelines,” a senior livestock official said on condition of anonymity.

Citizens also help. Local resident Chaitanya Bhateliya gave details about LSD to residents. He also notified the authorities each time an infected animal died.

“Things are improving. Citizens have become vigilant. They immediately notify authorities whenever they see an infected animal,” Bhateliya said.

“The supply of cow’s milk has not been affected due to the LSD epidemic, as the impact in terms of percentage or number of cattle affected is not significant and timely measures have helped to stem outbreak,” said a senior Mahi Milk official, headquartered in Rajkot. Producer Co Ltd, said.