Lumpy Skin Disease

Lumpy Skin Disease

Changed on: 18.01.2021
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Animal disease categories: A D E


Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a highly contagious disease of ruminants caused by a virus. The disease affects domestic cattle, zebu, bison and water buffalo as well as captive wild ruminants. The virus does not affect humans.


For a long time, Lumpy Skin Disease was endemic only in East, South and West Africa. The first report of Lumpy Skin Disease in the EU was in August 2015.


Cattle, American bison, zebu, water buffalo, African buffalo, old world camels, giraffes and antelopes

Mode of transmission

According to current epidemiological findings, LSD is spread by indirect pathogen dissemination by insects and mites (vectors), e.g. horseflies (Tabanidae), flies (Muscidae, Sciomyzidae), biting midges (Culicoides), mosquitoes (Culicidae), and mites (Ixodidae). Transmission is also possible through direct contact, infected semen, untreated animal skins and fur and products thereof (e.g. hunting trophies), raw meat products, raw milk products and through animal feed derived therefrom, including colostrum.


Skin nodes on the head, neck, tail area, extremities; fever, heavily enlarged lymph nodes, increased salivation and tears, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss

Preventive measures

Due to the diversity of vectors and the resulting control methods, the control of LSD vectors represents a major challenge for the affected EU countries. So far, only few scientifically profound data on vectors in Europpe are available.

Apart from killing of infected and susceptible animals in the herd ("total stamping out") and movement restrictions on susceptible animals and animal products, the most effective measure to control the disease is considered to be nationwide vaccination (95% coverage) with a homologous, attenuated LSDV strain (Neethling). The vaccine is not approved in Europe; its use requires an authorisation from the authorities.

Situation in Austria

Lumpy skin disease does not occur in Austria. Since 2017, cattle or ruminants with mostly conspicuous skin symptoms have been examined as part of the exclusion diagnosis. All cases have been LSD negative so far.

Table 1: Examinations for exclusion diagnostics

Jahr Betriebe Rinder
2015 2 19
2016 2 3
2017 12 15
2018 7 15
2019 5 5

Situation in Europa

Lumpy Skin Disease was first detected in the EU in August 2015 in Greece, in the Evros Delta near the Turkish-Greek border. Starting from Greece, the disease spread to Southeast Europe. In 2016, numerous outbreaks in Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo and Southern Serbia were reported. Most outbreaks in Europe occurred between May and August - the season with the highest vector density. Several measures have been taken to control LSD in the affected countries.

Mortality and morbidity in infected European cattle herds varied regionally between 0-100% in 2016 and 2017, with an average of 0.8-7.2% morbidity and 0.3-2.9% mortality in Albania, for example.

In the Balkan region, cases of lumpy skin disease decreased from 7,483 in 2016 to 385 in 2017. These numbers confirm that vaccination of cattle is the most effective way to control the disease, as recommended by EFSA in 2016.

Professional information

Veterinary Medicine

Ministry of Health: measures and recommendations

The LSD virus (LSDV) belongs to the genus Capripox virus. Other members of this genus are the Sheeppox virus, and the Goatpox virus.


The AGES Institute for Veterinary Investigations in Mödling as National Reference Laboratory for Capripox is responsible for LSD laboratory analyses.

Samples of skin alterations, blood and excretions (tear fluid, saliva) are used for diagnostic tests. The samples are analysed using internationally approved molecular biological (PCR and sequencing), electron microscopic, virological (isolation by cell culture) and serological methods (SNT, ELISA). The NRL can distinguish the virus from the strain used for vaccination by PCR. The diagnostic methods are also used in exclusion diagnostics. Exclusion diagnostics allows early detection of an epidemic and maintaisn the competence of laboratory diagnostic tests and emergency plans. In 2017 and 2018, for example, 15 bovine animals with highly conspicuous skin symptoms were tested with exclusion diagnostics. All cases were tested negative for LSD.

Sample type for sampling:

live animals:

  • skin lesions and/or skin crusts
  • Saliva fluid (native in tubes or swabs possible - no bacteriological swab transport medium)
  • Nasal and ocular fluid (with swab - no bacteriological swab transport medium)
  • Blood (EDTA/Heparin) and serum


  • skin lesions and/or skin crusts
  • Lymph nodes
  • Spleen
  • Lung and altered regions of the respiratory tract
  • Nasal fluid (with swab - no bacteriological swab transport medium)

BMSGPK and AGES have taken precautions for a possible outbreak of the disease by numerous measures (preparation of a contingency plan, risk analysis and vaccination plan; dissemination of information via publications, supply of sample sets and instructions on biosafety on the farm, etc.). The national "Lumpy skin disease directive" (BGBl II No. 315/2017) has been implicated since 1 December 2017. The directive regulates official measures for early detection (LSD monitoring), official measures in the event of a suspected or actual outbreak of a disease, zoning and movement restrictions. It also provides information on the implementation of provisions and referrals under EU law and on the regaining of the status of being free from the disease.


Disease progression in cattle is acute to subacute, sometimes chronic. Typical symptoms are:

  • a papulo-vesicular exanthema, which can occur in the form of 0.5-5 cm large skin nodes, preferably on the head, neck, in the tail area, in the perineum, on the external genital organs (udder mastitis!) and the extremities. Only 40-50% of cattle develop generalised skin swellings.
  • biphasic fever attacks of up to 41 °C
  • very enlarged lymph nodes
  • necrotic lesions in the organs of the respiratory tract (trachea, lungs), skeletal muscles, subcutaneous tissue, stomach and uterus
  • increased salivation and lacrimation
  • fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Conjunctivitis (can lead to blindness)
  • lack of tolerance reflex in female animals
  • abortions caused by infections

Differential diagnoses are an infection with BHV-2 (syn. Pseudo lumpy skin disease), parapocks, demodicosis or dermatophilosis (infection with the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis).

In case of suspicion, samples (skin necrosis, tear fluid, saliva, serum and EDTA blood) should be collected by the official veterinarian.

LSD-typische Hautschwellungen / Rinderkörper
Rindereuter mit LSD-Läsionen
Trachea eines an LSD-erkrankten Rindes, Schleimhautläsionen

Contact, forms

Reference Center:
Institute for Veterinary Medicine Mödling
Center for Biological Safety

Robert Koch-Gasse 17
2340 Mödling

Tel: +43 50 555-38112
Fax: +43(0)5 055538529


    Anleitung zur Probennahme Lumpy skin disease (LSD) für Amtstierärzte (314 K)
    download file  | open PDF


    S. Richter, P. Schiefer, F. Schmoll: Lumpy Skin Disease - erfolgreich bekämpft (3.13 M)
    news4vets 02/2019
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    S. Richter, F. Schmoll, P.Schiefer: Lumpy skin disease - cattle pox in Europe, KTP 24 (2016) (0.92 M)
    download file  | open PDF

    VETJournal, Ausgabe 07/08/16 (1.19 M)
    Die Rinder-Pockenerkrankung Lumpy Skin Disease breitet sich aus
    download file  | open PDF

    Folder_Biosicherheit_Monitoring 2017 (173 K)
    download file  | open PDF

    Biosecurity measures on the suspect holding (501 K)
    [Translate to English:] Array
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