Warning sign – Spread of lumpy skin disease must be contained

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Source: The post is based on the article “Warning sign – Spread of lumpy skin disease must be contained” published in the Business Standard on 24th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 3: Economics of animal-rearing.

Relevance: About containing lumpy skin disease(LSD).

News: In May, different states reported over 10,000 cases of lumpy skin disease (LSD).

About India’s livestock sector

Indiay’s livestock sector has maintained a robust compound annual growth rate of close to 8% in recent years. Its share in agricultural gross value added (GVA) at constant prices was 30.1% in 2020-21. Milk is now virtually the largest food crop, outstripping rice and wheat in terms of both volume and value.

What is a lumpy skin disease(LSD)?

Read here: Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)

What are the impacts of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)?

Increase milk prices: Last year, the disease caused over 155,000 deaths and a sharp dip in the milk yield. This forced dairy companies, including the market leaders like Amul and Mother Dairy, to raise milk prices multiple times.

Might turn epidemic: Last year, the disease was confined largely to Rajasthan and its adjoining regions. But this time, the cases have already been reported from nearly a dozen states spread across the country — from Uttarakhand in the north to Maharashtra and Karnataka in the south, and Sikkim in the east.

Since it is a vector-borne disease, in the monsoon season the vectors tend to multiply faster during the hot and humid weather. Thereby, can make the disease as epidemic form.

Impact on poor and marginal sectors: Small and marginal farmers and landless people constitute over 85% of the rural population in India. They rely critically on animal husbandry for their livelihood. Even though the UN Food and Agriculture Organization considers the mortality rate of this virus at around 10%, this is a significant socio-economic fallout for them.

What is Lumpi-ProVacInd Vaccine?

Read here: Lumpi-ProVacInd Vaccine

At least four companies have acquired the needed technical know-how from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). But despite that, its commercial production remains mired in regulatory and other hurdles.

So currently, mostly goat- and sheep-pox vaccines are being administered to bigger bovines as well. Their efficacy rate against lumpy skin disease is said to be 60-70%.

What should be done?

Like the Covid vaccine, the government should show some kind of urgency in approval, mass production, and use of the vaccine against LSD. Else, the sustainability of the country’s white revolution would be at stake.

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