The Gujarat government has started vaccinating cattle against the dreaded Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) that is found in milch cattle, the State agriculture and animal husbandry department said.

Caused by the pox virus and believed to be spread by blood-feeding insects such as mosquitoes, bees/flies etc., LSD currently has no treatment, hence the prevention by vaccination of the cattle is the only effective means to control the spread. Gujarat has reported initial LSD cases in June-july last year.

Raghavji Patel, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Gujarat, informed that LSD cases were reported from 11 districts in the Saurashtra-Kutch and South Gujarat regions of the State. “The symptoms of Lumpy Skin Disease have been reported in cattle in the districts of Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Kutch, Rajkot, Porbandar, Surendranagar, Junagadh, Morbi, Bhavnagar, Amreli, and Surat. We have commenced extensive vaccination for LSD with sufficient stock of the vaccine doses available with us. So far, about 3 lakh cattle have been vaccinated,” said the Minister. Gujarat has nearly 95 lakh cow and buffalo

Ahmedabad-based animal vaccine maker Hester Biosciences Limited is the first to develop and make available a vaccine for LSD in India. It has started supplies to Gujarat after it secured authorisation from the Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Government of India to repurpose its goat pox vaccine for LSD.

Hester Biosciences, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the government advisories have prescribed to "use the Goat Pox vaccine in higher dosage to protect, prevent and reduce mortality due to LSD. Hester manufactures Goat Pox vaccine, which has been recommended for use at 3ml per dose in cattle and buffaloes."

"Hester has adequate ready stocks of its Goat Pox vaccine as well as of its other complementing products. It has geared up to manufacture additional quantities of Goat Pox vaccine for immunisation and prevention of LSD, as well as its complementary products should there be an outbreak," it said, adding that the company also manufactures complementing therapies like antibiotic CuRx Inj (Enrofloxacin+Ketoprofen), which are very effective and helpful in the current LSD outbreak.

The LSD symptoms are mainly the inflammation or nodules on the skin and chronic debility in affected animals; reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility and abortion. It leads to the death of the animal in extreme circumstances.

An animal in any age group is vulnerable to the disease. It is, therefore, recommended to vaccinate all healthy animals irrespective of age-groups once every two years till the disease is under endemic category in the country.

LSD bears significant direct economic impact on the dairy farmers, with their costs rising due to treatment and use of antibiotics. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDD) has been propagating an ethno-veterinary formulation for LSD that can be given to the affected animals.

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