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FAO supports emergency response to outbreak of lumpy skin disease in Indonesia

22/03/2022

As the viral cattle disease continues to spread in Asia and the Pacific, FAO is among the international partners supporting the Government of Indonesia in its efforts to prevent infections.

To contain the spread of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle, Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture has launched a mass vaccination programme in the province of Riau, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners. 

“LSD is an animal disease originally from Africa that has infected cattle in Riau in the past one month, so for emergency treatment, the Ministry of Agriculture has started vaccination,” said the Director General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Dr Ir. Nasrullah. “The LSD vaccination aims to prevent new infections and further expansion of the disease.”

According to Nasrullah, in this first stage, vaccination will begin in affected villages before being carried out in a control zone with a radius of 10 km beyond currently infected areas.

“One hundred thousand doses of vaccine and vaccination logistics are ready,” he said.

The LSD control efforts in the districts of Indragiri Hulu, Pelalawan, Indragiri Hilir, Dumai, Siak, Bengkalis and Kampar are supported by the Australia Indonesia Health Security Partnership (AIHSP) as well as FAO. FAO’s emergency response is funded by the United States Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

The LSD control efforts in the districts of Indragiri Hulu, Pelalawan, Indragiri Hilir, Dumai, Siak, Bengkalis and Kampar are supported by FAO as well as the Australia Indonesia Health Security Partnership (AIHSP).

The head of the Livestock and Animal Health Services of Riau Province, Herman, welcomed the efforts and stated that 188 animal health workers stood ready to carry out vaccinations.

“We thank you for the full support from the Ministry of Agriculture and AIHSP and FAO in controlling LSD in Riau,” he said.

Collaboration crucial to control transboundary animal disease 

Cases of LSD have recently been reported in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and other countries in Asia, explained Rajendra Aryal, the FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. He emphasized the importance of international collaboration in controlling diseases that may spread across borders and disrupt trade.  

“FAO is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and supporting Indonesia to promptly respond to this lumpy skin disease outbreak before it further threatens the animal health and food systems,” said Aryal. 

AIHSP Team Leader John Leigh said: “We are ready to help ensure that the LSD outbreak in Riau can be controlled and does not spread to other areas.”

LSD, a growing threat to rural livelihoods

While LSD is not known to infect humans, it can put cattle farmers’ livelihoods at risk. It reduces milk production and may lead to sterility in bulls and fertility problems in females. It damages hides, in some cases leading to death due to secondary bacterial infections.

Traditionally found in sub-Saharan Africa, LSD has gradually been invading new territories. It was first reported in Asia and the Pacific in 2019 and has continued to spread across the region. 

FAO conducted a qualitative risk assessment on the likelihood of introduction and/or spread of LSD in 23 countries in South, East and Southeast Asia, including the potential economic impact and recommendations for control. The cost-effectiveness estimate demonstrates a strong economic justification for vaccination and advocates for a regional approach to harmonize control measures.

Find FAO’s guidance for veterinarians on rapidly diagnosing and reacting to an outbreak of LSD here.

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