What is Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)?

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What is Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)? Blog Image


A team of Indian scientists has made significant progress in understanding the genetic makeup of the virus responsible for the lumpy skin disease that led to the deaths of approximately 1,00,000 cattle since May 2022.

About Lumpy Skin Disease

  • It is an infectious viral disease of cattle.
  • Causative Agent: It is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which belongs to the genus capripoxvirus, a part of the poxviridae family (smallpox and monkeypox viruses are also a part of the same family). 
  • LSDV is not a zoonotic virus, meaning the disease cannot spread to humans.
  • Geographical distribution:

LSD is currently endemic in most of Africa, parts of the Middle East, and Turkey.

Since 2015, the disease has spread to most of the Balkan countries, the Caucasus, and the Russian Federation.

Since 2019, several outbreaks of LSD have been reported by countries in Asia (Bangladesh, India, China, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, Bhutan, Hong Kong (SAR-RPC), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand).


  • It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes, or ticks.
  • Infected animalsshed the virus through oral and nasal secretions, which may contaminate common feeding and water troughs.
  • Thus, the disease can either spread through direct contact with the vectors or through contaminated fodder and water.


  • LSD affects the lymph nodes of the infected animal, causing the nodes to enlarge and appear like lumps on the skin, which is where it derives its name from. 
  • The cutaneous nodules, 2–5 cm in diameter, appearon the infected cattle’s head, neck, limbs, udder, genitalia, and perineum.
  • The nodules may later turn into ulcers and eventually develop scabs over the skin. 
  • The other symptoms include high fever, a sharp drop in milk yield, discharge from the eyes and nose, salivation, loss of appetite, depression, damaged hides, emaciation (thinness or weakness) of animals, infertility, and abortions.

It can also lead to death, especially in animals that have not previously been exposedto the virus or have low immunity.

LSD is a highly host-specific disease. It primarily affects cows and to a lesser extent, buffalo. Morbidity rate is higher in cattle than buffalo.


  • It has no direct antiviral treatment.
  • Instead, the infected animals receive supportive care, which involves the use of antibiotics, painkillers, and wound care sprays to treat symptoms.
  • As there's no treatment, vaccines are used to control disease transmission.

Q1: What is a Virus?

A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone; instead, it must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, a virus ends up killing the host cell in the process, causing damage to the host organism. Well-known examples of viruses causing human disease include AIDS, COVID-19, measles and smallpox.

Source: Scientists track how the lumpy skin disease killed over 1,00,000 cows in India