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Lumpy skin disease: a direct threat to Europe
  1. Pip M. Beard, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS
  1. OIE Reference Laboratories for Lumpy Skin Disease, Sheeppox and Goatpox, The Pirbright Institute, Ash Road, Pirbright, Surrey GU24 0NF, UK, e-mail:

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LUMPY skin disease (LSD) is a transboundary, systemic, viral disease of cattle that has traditionally been found in southern Africa. It has steadily expanded its geographical boundaries and in the past five years moved very efficiently through the Middle East and into eastern Europe and Russia. Current control measures have been unable to restrict the spread of the disease and it now represents a direct threat to the rest of Europe.

LSD is caused by infection with lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), a poxvirus classified in the Capripoxvirus genus. It is a highly species-specific virus infecting only cattle, buffalo and closely related wildlife. It causes a very characteristic and easily recognisable clinical disease. After an initial period of fever and lymphadenopathy the animal develops large, firm cutaneous nodules up to 5 cm in diameter (Fig 1). These can be found all over the body but particularly on sparsly haired areas such as the head, udder, scrotum and perineum. The nodules may become necrotic and ulcerate, leading to increased risk of myiasis. In severely affected animals necrotic lesions can also develop in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. The disease severity varies widely from subclinical to fatal. Morbidity and mortality in LSDV outbreaks in European countries affected so far have been …

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