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lumpy skin disease: Milk from LSD-infected cattle safe for consumption, IVRI official says

A senior official from Indian Veterinary Research Institute has assured that it is safe to consume milk from cattle infected by lumpy skin disease, a non-zoonotic disease and not transmissible from animals to humans.

“It is safe to consume milk from the infected cattle. There is no problem in the quality of milk even if you have it after boiling or without boiling,” IVRI Joint Director Ashok Kumr Mohanty told PTI. However, milk production in the infected cattle gets affected depending on the severity of the disease and immunity level of the animal, he added.

LSD is a contagious viral disease that affects cattle and causes fever, nodules on the skin and can also lead to death. The disease gets spread by mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps by direct contact among the cattle, and through contaminated food and water.

The comment comes a time when the disease has affected 16.42 lakh cattle in 197 districts and has killed 75,000 cattle between July and September 11, according to data maintained by the Department of Animal Husbandry. LSD has spread in more than a dozen states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.

Mohanty told PTI there can be a localised impact on milk production but it is difficult to quantify right now in the absence of accurate data on the spread of the infection in cattle across the country.

“When cattle are infected, the animals become weak due to nodule formation, fever and other symptoms. This severely affects milk production. When the animal is dying, its entire body system is affected,” he said.

The disease and its impact on milk output can be arrested if cattle are vaccinated on time. If cattle are infected for the first time and not vaccinated, then milk production can get reduced up to 40-50 per cent, he added.

States so far are using ‘goat pox’ vaccine to control the spread of LSD even though a new vaccine has been developed and is expected shortly after regulatory approvals,Mohanty said.

The goat pox vaccine is effective in controlling the spread of LSD in cattle, said Amit Kumar, a scientist at IVRI working on the goat pox vaccine, adding that the goat pox vaccine doses were given to LSD infected cattle in the eastern and southern states in the last two years. LSD has been contained in those states and it has not resurfaced this year, he said.

“LSD has gone severe this year in 4-5 states of Western India because goat pox vaccine doses were not administered,” Kumar said.

(With PTI inputs)

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