YK Poudel

The National Centre for Animal Health (NCAH) sent Lumpyvac—vaccination against lumpy skin disease—to all 20 dzongkhags yesterday. NCAH has already distributed the vaccine to Trongsa and Bumthang. 

A total of 293,291 animals in 177 gewogs are eligible for the vaccine.

The government procured a consignment of about 338,750 lumpyvac (6,775 vials) worth Nu 20.5 million (20,534,495) as emergency measure. The vaccine arrived on August 17 from Türkiye-based Vetal Animal Health Products Inc. 

The NCAH aims to complete the nationwide mass-vaccination within a month or two with vaccination coverage of at least 80 percent in all susceptible populations.

Notably, already-infected animals will not receive vaccinations for now, as it could exacerbate their condition. Vaccination process will be administered once these animals recover to bolster their natural immunity.

Dr Palden Wangchuck, senior veterinary officer of NCAH, said that the vaccine is applicable to all bovine animals, except for young animals below one month. “Following categories of animals are not eligible for vaccination: Calves below one month of age, animal currently infected or showing clinical signs and symptoms of LSD, and clinically sick animals due to any other disease.” 

After the vaccination is completed, the remaining vaccine stock will be used for calves in the future. 

Lumpyvac will be provided in packs of 50 doses, each mixed with 100 millilitres of diluent for each animal. A subcutaneous injection of two millilitres of the reconstituted vaccine is expected to provide protection to the animals.

Side effects?

Probable adverse reactions observed are slight fever, decrease in feed intake, and decrease in milk production. These reactions are usually mild and subside within a few days to a few weeks. 

Farmers are advised to contact the nearest livestock extension office if they notice any adverse reaction in their animals after vaccination, especially if the reactions are severe or do not subside within a few days. 

To streamline the vaccine rollout, NCAH organized a consultative meeting with health extension officials from across the country on August 18 followed by training for technical teams yesterday.

There are more than 293,291 heads of cattle in the country today. Maintaining a buffer supply, a total of 338,750 doses or 6,775 vials (each containing 50 doses) of vaccine was procured. 

Lumpy skin disease is a highly contagious viral disease that leads to the formation of nodules and wounds on the skin, resulting in severe health implications for cattle.

Lumpy Skin Disease, endemic to African and Middle Eastern countries, has rapidly made its way to Asian countries, with Bhutan confirming its first outbreak in Samtse on October 5, 2020. Over 1,537 livestock have died, and 15,608 animals have been infected as of Sunday, August 20.