Lumpy skin disease: vaccination leads to fall in outbreaks

Outbreaks of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in the Balkan region fell dramatically by 95% from 7,483 in 2016 to 385 in 2017. The figures confirm that vaccination of cattle – recommended by EFSA in 2016 – is the most effective way to contain the disease.

A report published today by EFSA gives an update on the occurrence of LSD and the effectiveness of vaccination. It also analyses the risk factors for its spread in south-eastern Europe. The report is based on data collected by affected countries and those at risk.

However, Alessandro Broglia, a veterinarian at EFSA, warned: “Even if the number of outbreaks has decreased significantly, the disease has not been eliminated from the region yet and therefore we need to remain vigilant.”

In 2017 most of the outbreaks – 379 – were reported in areas of Albania where the vaccination programme had not yet been completed. Few outbreaks occurred elsewhere, with two in Greece and four in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

One of the factors responsible for the spread of LSD is an increase in the number of insects that transmit the disease, as a result of warm temperatures.

Experts also concluded that in Greece the risk of infection is six times higher among farmed animals that have access to outdoor space than in those kept indoors. This is because the former group is more exposed to transmitting insects.

Working together

The cooperation and commitment of countries involved in the data collection was crucial for the report. EFSA used data provided by Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo [1], Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

[1] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
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