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ALLERGIC wheals and unexplained abortions in cattle should be given special consideration in the UK and the rest of Europe this summer and autumn. They may represent the early signs of lumpy skin disease (LSD). Named after the raised areas that appear on the skin of infected cattle, LSD was referred to as ‘pseudo-urticaria’ when first described in southern Africa in 1929 (Macdonald 1931). In the first outbreaks in Israel in 1989, skin lesions were mistaken for vaccine-associated allergic wheals, the animals were treated accordingly and diagnosis was delayed by about a month (Yeruham and others 1995, Brenner and others 2006).
Although associated with a capripox virus, LSD does not behave like a typical infectious disease. Morbidity is low (reviewed by Tuppurainen and Oura 2012). Only four to five animals in an infected herd of 100 may show clinical signs. Awareness of unexplained abortions …