Taiwan races against time to vaccinate cattle in Kinmen

Lumpy skin disease from China allegedly makes inroads into Taiwan’s outlying islands

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Cattle infected with lumpy skin disease (COA via CNA photo)

Cattle infected with lumpy skin disease (COA via CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is rushing to inoculate cattle on the outlying island county of Kinmen amid an outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) that poses a threat to the country’s beef and dairy markets.

Around 10,000 vaccines have been procured and are expected to be administered within one week, said Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA) on a radio program on Tuesday (July 14). Taiwan is making every effort to prevent the viral disease from spreading to the rest of the country, including better mosquito control, he added.

The outbreak was reported last week and was allegedly transmitted by flies from China’s coastal province of Fujian. At least 82 sick cattle have been culled due to the illness, with the scope expected to widen.

Kinmen County's islands are home to 594 farms and 6,282 cattle, and as of Monday, 394 farms have yet to be inspected by animal health officials, UDN quoted Chen as saying on Monday (July 13).

Lumpy skin disease, which afflicts cattle and buffalo, leads to symptoms of fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and multiple nodules on the skin. While it poses no health risks to humans, lactation yield will be significantly reduced in sick dairy cows and afflicted animals are deemed of little economic value because of serious health conditions, according to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

China has failed to report Fujian's LSD infections in June, as required by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) following an outbreak in Xinjiang last year. Geographically close to China, Taiwan is vulnerable to a number of diseases that have emerged in China, including African swine fever (ASF), the Tembusu virus, shrimp hemocyte iridescent virus (SHIV), Swine flu (H1N1 virus), armyworm invasion, and now the lumpy skin disease (LSD), Chen cautioned.