Lumpy skin disease

From Cow

Lumpy skin disease is an infectious viral disease of African cattle caused by Neethling poxvirus[1].

The implicated virus is Neethling virus, assumed to be transmitted mechanically by biting insects including flies and ticks[2].

The disease is characterised clinically by nodular circumscribed painful nodules over the entire body, especially the muzzle, and is associated with fever, ptyalism, conjunctivitis, lymphadenopathy and anorexia. The mucous membranes of the mouth and mucosa of the intestinal tract are also affected, causing gastrointestinal disturbances. Fatalities have been recorded.

Outbreaks are usually sporadic in nature, occurring more commonly in wet summer weather. Significantly higher risk of outbreaks are associated with communal grazing and introduction of new cattle[3].

Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs supported by immunohistochemistry[4] or PCR isolation of the poxvirus[5].

The disease needs to be distinguished from pseudo-lumpy skin disease caused by bovine herpes virus-2.

Most cases resolve with broad-spectrum antimicrobial coverage such as enrofloxacin, tetracyclines or ceftiofur.

Attenuated vaccines are available for control.


  1. Tuppurainen ES & Oura CA (2012) Review: lumpy skin disease: an emerging threat to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Transbound Emerg Dis 59(1):40-48
  2. Magori-Cohen R et al (2012) Mathematical modelling and evaluation of the different routes of transmission of lumpy skin disease virus. Vet Res 43(1):1
  3. Gari G et al (2010) Risk factors associated with observed clinical lumpy skin disease in Ethiopia. Epidemiol Infect 138(11):1657-1666
  4. Awadin W et al (2011) Detection of lumpy skin disease virus antigen and genomic DNA in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from an Egyptian outbreak in 2006. Transbound Emerg Dis 58(5):451-457
  5. Sharawi SS & Abd El-Rahim IH (2011) The utility of polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of lumpy skin disease in cattle and water buffaloes in Egypt. Rev Sci Tech 30(3):821-830