Lumpy skin disease

Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease that affects cattle. It is transmitted by blood-feeding insects, such as certain species of flies and mosquitoes, or ticks. It causes fever, nodules on the skin and can also lead to death, especially in animals that that have not previously been exposed to the virus. Control options include vaccinations and culling of infected animals. Lumpy skin disease can lead to significant economic losses. The disease is present in many African countries. Since 2012, it has been spreading from the Middle East to south-east Europe, affecting EU Member States (Greece and Bulgaria) and several other countries in the Balkans. The risk of further spread of the disease is high.

April 2017 – EFSA experts conclude that the mass vaccination of cattle implemented in south-eastern Europe successfully contained the outbreaks of lumpy skin disease in the region in 2015-16.

July 2016– Experts assess the effectiveness of different measures to control the spread of the disease in the EU. They recommend that mass vaccination of cattle should be implemented to minimise the number of outbreaks in the regions at risk from lumpy skin disease or where the disease had already been introduced. 

December 2014– EFSA experts provide an overview of the latest available knowledge on lumpy skin disease. This includes mapping the areas of the world where the disease is present; evaluating the pathways of introduction into the EU and risk of spread; and reviewing prevention and control methods.  

EFSA helps to ensure that food producing animals remain healthy, as part of its mandate to improve EU food safety and animal health and to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

EFSA provides scientific advice on transboundary animal diseases – highly contagious diseases that can spread rapidly across national borders.

Experts of EFSA’s Animal Health and Welfare Panel assess the latest available knowledge on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of such diseases.

Control measures to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease are based on Council Directive 92/119/EEC. These include measures to control illegal movement of livestock and culling of infected animals.

The Commission has adopted some implementing decisions to approve the emergency vaccination programme of cattle in Greece (Commission implementing decision 2015/2055)  and to lay down control measures against lumpy skin disease in Greece (Commission implementing decision 2015/1500) and in Bulgaria (Commission implementing decision 2016/645).

Lumpy skin disease is a notifiable disease, according to Council Directive 82/894/EEC.