Scientific Opinion on lumpy skin disease
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a viral disease of cattle characterised by severe losses, especially in naive animals. LSD is endemic in many African and Asian countries, and it is rapidly spreading throughout the Middle East, including Turkey. LSD is transmitted by mechanical vectors, but direct/indirect transmission may occur. The disease would mainly be transferred to infection-free areas by transport of infected animals and vectors. In the EU, it could only happen through illegal transport of animals. The risk for that depends on the prevalence in the country of origin and the number of animals illegally moved. Based on a model to simulate LSD spread between farms, culling animals with generalised clinical signs seems to be sufficient to contain 90 % of epidemics around the initial site of incursion, but the remaining 10 % of simulated epidemics can spread up to 400 km from the site of introduction by six months after incursion. Whole-herd culling of infected farms substantially reduces the spread of LSD virus, and the more rapidly farms are detected and culled, the greater the magnitude of the reduction is. Only live attenuated vaccines against LSD are available. Homologous vaccines are more effective than sheep pox strain vaccines. The safety of the vaccines should be improved and the development of vaccines for differentiating between infected and vaccinated animals is recommended. Epidemics are not self-limiting when effective vaccination or culling are not applied. Active surveillance, rapid detection and prompt culling of infected herds are effective measures for LSD control. The role of vectors for LSD transmission should be further investigated in both controlled environments and the field. Awareness-raising campaigns for farmers and veterinary staff to promote recognition of LSD should be considered. The cooperation of the EU with neighbouring countries should be encouraged to prevent transboundary disease spread.