Exotic Animal Disease Newsletter Volume 4 Issue 2 - October 2010

​Lumpy Skin Disease

LSD is a vector borne capripox disease of bovines. It is not a zoonoses. LSD is characterized by fever, nodules on skin, mucous membranes and internal organs resulting in enlarged lymph nodes, oedema of the skin and sometimes death. It results in reduced productivity and damage to hides. 

The virus is antigenically indistinguishable from the viruses causing sheep and goat pox (see vol.2, issue2) but has a different geographical distribution, suggesting cattle strains of capripox virus do not transmit to sheep and goats.

LSD is endemic in parts of Africa. Since the 1980’s, LSD has spread northwards and now may be endemic in Egypt with outbreaks  also recorded in Middle Eastern countries. Outbreaks were reported in Zimbabwe in February and Uganda in August 2010. LSD was reported in Israel 2006, Mauritius in 2000 and Reunion in 1993 in imported cattle.

Vaccination with live attenuated vaccines helps prevent stock losses.

Map showing disease areas in French Southern Territories

Remember: New diseases do occur. You may be looking at the first case. Exotic Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888.

West Nile virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging pathogen in Europe. WNV was been reported in humans and horses during August/September in Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands (imported case), Romania and Turkey.

WNV has been reported for many years in countries bordering the Mediterranean: France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.

Recently cases in humans and horses have been reported also in Morocco, Israel and Russia.

WNV is actively circulating in in birds and mosquitoes in several EU member states and transmission to humans can be expected on a regular basis during the mosquito season. Whilst the vast majority of human cases remain asymptomatic, transmission via blood and organ donations remains a potential complication of infection.


A recent outbreak in Bahrain required the testing of 4,050 animals with resultant detection of 126 positive horses and 3 positive camels. It is believed the disease entered Bahrain in imported horses.

Caused by Burkholderia mallei, glanders is an important zoonoses. It occurs mainly in horses, donkeys and mules but camels, dogs and cats can be infected.

It causes nodules or ulceration in the upper respiratory tract and lungs. In the acute form there is fever, coughing and thick nasal discharge. Submaxillary lymph nodes are swollen and painful. In the chronic form it causes general malaise and unthriftiness, with chronic nasal discharge and possible skin lesions (farcy) mainly on the legs.


A major outbreak of anthrax in Bangladesh has resulted in more than 600 human cases during August and September. The source of the infection is believed to be cattle imported prior to the Eid al-Azah festival. The outbreak is having a large impact on cattle dealers and tanneries.

Since February 2010 cases of anthrax have been reported in injecting heroin-users in Scotland, England and in Germany. Of the 47 cases reported to date, 16 have died. The strain is genetically indistinguishable from, and most closely matches, strains from the Near East and Middle East. It is thought that the heroin may have been transported at some point whilst stored in an anthrax contaminated goat skin.


A new study suggests that the incidence of monkeypox is now 20 times as common as when smallpox was eradicated. Most of the human cases were born after smallpox vaccination was discontinued in the 1980’s. Cases have recently been reported in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and the Republic of the Congo.

The risk is that as infection rates rise in these countries the risk increases for the disease to be transported to other countries, where human immunity is low, via infected humans or animals.

Bovine TB – UK

Additional measures proposed to assist in the control of bovine TB in the UK include licensing landowners to cull and/or vaccinate badgers at their own expense in areas of high incidence of TB in cattle.

In 2009 25,000 cattle were slaughtered  at a cost of GBP 63 million to control TB. The UK Minister for Agriculture stated that TB could not be eradicated unless controlled in the reservoir host – the badger.

African Swine Fever

We have previously documented the recent spread of African swine fever (ASF) through the trans-Caucasus countries. There have been 81 ASF outbreaks in Russia since September 2009. In August 14,000 pigs were destroyed in the Rostov region alone to control infection.

There is concern that ASF may now spread into the Ukraine, thence to other east European countries and Asia.
In April the European Food Safety Agency released a scientific assessment on the risk of ASF to Europe.

Movement of contaminated pork products and swill feeding are the greatest risks for spread of infection whilst insufficient responses to outbreaks and non-compliance with control measures contribute to the risk of endemnicity.

Ornithodorus erraticus ticks may maintain local foci of ASF due to their long life (up to 15 years) and persistence of infection (up to 5 years) but whilst wild boar and ticks may play an active role in local spread they are not important for geographical spread of this virus, as the ticks remain on wild boar for very short periods.

Avian Influenza virus

Recent studies have shown that avian influenza virus can survive on glass and steel surfaces under conditions of low temperature and humidity for over 13 days. This has significant implications for decontamination in the event of an outbreak as well as for personal hygiene.


28 September 2010 was World Rabies Day. It was little noticed in Australia but in endemic countries it is a key day in raising awareness and promoting prevention activities.

The outbreak in Bali continues with more than 90 deaths officially recorded. On average 165 people are bitten by dogs on Bali each day. So far this year 34,485 people have been treated with rabies anti-serum.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals has signed an agreement with the government to vaccinate 400,000 dogs by 2012 and AusAID has donated 370,000 doses of rabies vaccine.

In northern Italy fox associated rabies re-emerged in an area bordering Slovenia in 2008. Since then it has spread westwards towards Switzerland.
Aerial baiting was implemented in the winter of 2009-10. Despite being conducted in adverse weather conditions recent surveys have shown 77 per cent of sampled foxes have antibody titres>0.5 IU/ml. The aerial baiting campaign has since been expanded.

Deaths due to rabies have been rising in Vietnam since 2003. This is said to be due to poor public awareness and reduced management by health authorities. Since 2003 SARS and HPAI have received more attention and now in some areas only 4 per cent dogs are vaccinated.


  • Do you have clients with pet pigs or small numbers of pigs close to a city?
  • Are you and your clients aware of the likely clinical signs of ASF?
  • Do you know how to report a suspected case of an emergency animal disease?
  • Are you and your clients aware of the swill feeding regulations?
  • If you answer no to any of these questions then it may be a good time to make contact with your nearest government veterinary officer or check out the relevant AUSVETPLAN disease strategy on the AHA website.

Further information on these diseases can be obtained from the AUSVETPLAN website.

While you are there check out the latest edition of Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly for information on diseases in livestock in Australia.

For further information contact Dr. Richard Rubira, Animal Health Programs, Biosecurity Services Group,Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra

Email: Rich​ard Rubira or phone (03) 5762 2246

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