TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The European Union is donating 10,000 doses of the lumpy skin disease vaccine to Taiwan, which detected cases of the infectious illness in cattle on the outlying island of Kinmen last week.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) on July 10 confirmed the first cases of lumpy skin disease at an animal product research institute in Kinmen County, culling 23 cattle that had shown symptoms. The viral disease is likely to have been spread from China by biting insects, according to a genomic examination of the virus.
COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said the council got in touch with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) last week to inquire about purchasing vaccines from other countries. After learning that Taiwan was seeking to purchase lumpy skin disease vaccines, the EU expressed its willingness to donate 10,000 doses to the island nation, he said, adding that the bloc is making arrangements for the shipment.
The council has also purchased 10,000 vaccine shots from South Africa, and these are expected to be delivered to Taiwan on Tuesday (July 21). The vaccination program is scheduled to begin in Kinmen on Wednesday (July 22), and approximately 6,000 cattle will be given the vaccine within two days.
As of Thursday (July 16), 42 farms in Kinmen had reported cases of lumpy skin disease, with more than 100 cattle culled.
The government has suspended the delivery of cattle and beef products from Kinmen since the infections were first confirmed. All ships and planes from Kinmen to the rest of Taiwan are also required to carry out disinfection.
Lumpy skin disease is caused by a virus in the Poxviridae family, with a mortality rate of 1-5 percent. It is usually spread by biting insects such as culicoides and stable flies.