The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has ordered two batches of vaccines from South Africa to fight the lumpy skin disease (LSD) that is infecting cattle in Cambodia. Officials in some provinces have already been vaccinating animals to reduce illness and deaths.

Tan Phanara, director-general of animal health and production, told The Post on August 12 that the vaccine will arrive in Cambodia in the next one to two weeks when it will be distributed nationwide to prevent the spread of LSD.

“The government spent two weeks negotiating with the company to buy a good quality vaccine for cattle,” he said.

The vaccines will be delivered in two stages. The first one will be 20,000 doses followed by the second one of 50,000 doses. The ministry is also considering further purchases depending on requirements.

“This current spread of the infection is still contagious [in some areas]. Due to the spread of LSD, we have worked hard in finding ways to purchase vaccines for our farmers’ cattle,” Phanara stated.

LSD can cause scabies and ulcers in male animals, which can lead to infertility. The virus can also be passed from one animal to another through direct and indirect contact by other infected animals. Infections amongst cattle herds can be from 5 to 45 per cent of animals. The death rate is less than 10 per cent. It can also cause serious damage to the national economy.

Meanwhile, veterinary officials from the Stung Treng provincial department of agriculture on August 11 vaccinated cattle against LSD in Stung Treng town as many cattle in the area were developing the disease.

Tum Niro, director of the Stung Treng provincial department of agriculture, said the vaccination of cattle was to reduce infections and a loss of income for farmers.

In case of infection, he asked local veterinary officials to administer injections or consult with owners to take immediate action to prevent the spread of the disease to other cattle.

The first cases of LSD occurred in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces in early June, and then in other provinces bordering Thailand. The ministry said 6,804 cattle were infected. Of that number, 65 per cent were cured and 35 per cent were still ill. One per cent (mostly calves) died in the period from early June until July 29.

LSD is caused by capripoxvirus from the poxviridae family. It first broke out in Zambia in 1929 and has spread around the world. It has a devastating effect on farming families, the livestock industry and economy.