Biosecurity keeping Australia’s cattle and buffalo free from Lumpy skin disease

30 April 2021

Lumpy skin disease (LSD), a significant animal disease which affects cattle and water buffalo, could have a devastating impact if it arrived in Australia.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said the disease was moving closer to our shores, further demonstrating the significant risks we face, and why biosecurity is so important.

“LSD is a devastating disease of cattle and buffalo caused by a capripox virus,” Dr Schipp said.

“The disease has never been recorded in Australia but is spreading rapidly internationally.

“Since 2012, LSD has spread beyond its historical presence in Africa, through to the Middle East, south east Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, Russia, Kazakhstan and on our doorstep in South and East Asia.

“LSD is primarily spread by biting flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks.

“If it were ever to establish here it could have detrimental effects to animal production and welfare.

“Impacts include emaciation, decreased milk production, damaged skins, reproductive losses and, in some cases, deaths.

“There would also be substantial trade impacts if Australia was no longer recognised as free from LSD.

“Once present it can be challenging and costly to control or eradicate.

“Our strict biosecurity system includes import conditions and measures at the border to manage the risks, but importers and members of the public have a role to play.

“You can do your part by following the rules and not importing any high-risk goods into Australia such as untreated cattle skins and hides.”

For more information on what can be imported into Australia visit BICON

For more information on Lumpy skin disease visit: Emergency Animal Disease Bulletin No. 121