Epizootic features and control measures for lumpy skin disease in south-east Serbia in 2016.
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an infectious disease of cattle caused by virus of the Capripoxvirus genus (LSDV), family Poxviridae. Until 2015, it had not appeared in the Balkans. In June 2016, LSD spread throughout Serbia. This study analyses the first LSD occurrence, epizootic features, applied diagnostic procedures and control measures in five districts in south-east Serbia (Pcinja, Jablanica, Pirot, Toplica and Nisava). In total, there were 225 LSD outbreaks reported in Serbia, out of which 189 (84%) were located in the study area. The highest number of outbreaks was registered in Pcinja district (169), where LSD was first registered. The median distance and time between the nearest previous outbreak sites were calculated (4.32 km and 9 days). The median altitude of outbreak locations was 992 m with more than 90% above 500 m (p≤0.001). The average herd morbidity rate in the study area was 13.6% and the herd mortality rate was recorded only in Pcinja (0.5%) and Jablanica (1.6%) districts. Samples taken from the cattle suspected to LSD were subjected to real time PCR analysis. Out of 233 samples tested for LSDV 132 (56.7%) were positive. The LSDV genome was identified in skin nodules (85.4%), blood (72.7%) and nasal swabs (62.5%). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the LSDV strain circulating in Serbia fell within the cluster of field LSDV found worldwide. In response to the LSD epizootic, animal trade and movement were prohibited, complete stamping out, disinfection, disinsection and an entire bovine population vaccination using the homologous Neethling live attenuated vaccine (OBP, South Africa) were conducted. A month and a half after the completion of the vaccination campaign, the LSD epizootic was stopped, and no new cases have been reported since.