Lumpy Skin Disease has never been reported in Australia. A likely pathway in would be through the (illegal) importation of infected animal products (such as untanned hides) and fomites, which can remain a source of infection for months.
Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is a pox virus infection of cattle and buffalo. The disease is endemic in most African countries. Since 2012 it spread through the Middle East, south-east Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, Russia and Kazakhstan. Since 2019 it has been reported in several Asian countries including India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Viet Nam and Taiwan. In 2021 was reported in Sri Lanka and Thailand (April 2021) with further spread in the region deemed likely.
The name comes from the characteristic lesions it causes – circumscribed, round and raised nodules in the skin and the ‘sit-fasts’ that form following their necrosis and fibrosis – nothing else looks quite like it.
However pathology is not limited to the skin and significant lesions can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract, trachea and lungs. A range of clinical signs is also possible, from inapparent infection to animals with a high temperature, ocular and nasal discharges, excessive salivation and enlarged superficial lymph nodes.
If you think LSD is a possibility, ring your state or territory government veterinarians directly or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888.
Multiple skin biopsies (fresh and fixed) and blood samples enable differential diagnoses of endemic diseases such as Bovine Herpesvirus 2 (BHV-2), pseudocowpox and bovine papular stomatitis. See the CSIRO EAD Field Guide for more information.
Above: LSD skin lesions in Zebu and a water buffalo (Rajesh Singh, Pashudhan Praharee, 2020 ; Ahmed Neamat-Allah & Essam Mahmoud, Comparative Clinical Pathology Vol 28, 20109)