The outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle is continuing, with Attapeu province recently reporting that 4,300 cattle had developed the viral infection.

Attapeu borders Cambodia along Stung Treng province’s Siem Pang district and Ratanakkiri province’s Taveng and Veun Sai districts.

Attapeu provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry deputy director Phetthanongsack Khamphounvong said the province has recorded the largest outbreak of the disease, with more than 4,300 animals falling sick. So far, more than 380 have recovered, 60 have died, and some animals are being treated.

The province is providing advice and veterinarians are suggesting that farmers get their animals vaccinated, he said, adding that livestock farmers must take care of their cattle and buffalo and follow the instructions of local authorities to keep the disease at bay.

Groups of cattle feeding together should be monitored and blood-sucking beetles prevented from biting cattle as this can spread the disease. To prevent uninfected herds from falling ill, control is necessary, but getting rid of blood-feeding insects through the use of insecticides should be done with caution.

Authorities should submit weekly reports on skin diseases in animals so that the situation can be monitored and LSD kept in check.

Last month, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Department of Livestock and Fisheries ordered agriculture authorities across the country to do everything possible to rein in the spread of LSD. The disease poses a continuing threat to livestock, with national epidemiological estimates stating that one per cent of animals are infected.

Officials from the livestock department say that a vaccine to protect animals against the disease is being imported and farmers can contact the relevant authorities if they need the jab.

LSD has been detected in capital Vientiane and the provinces of Attapeu, Vientiane, Khammuan, Borikhamxay, Savannakhet and Oudomxay since the disease was first reported in mid-April.

More than 15,000 cattle and buffalo in 165 villages have contracted LSD. Over 150 animals have died from the disease and more than 8,000 have been treated.

LSD was detected in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in 2020 and in neighbouring countries of Laos earlier this year, including Cambodia.