The Directorate of Animal Health and Production under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is mulling the import of a vaccine from Thailand or Vietnam to prevent a debilitating spread of “Lumpy skin disease” (LSD) in Cambodia’s cattle industry.

Director-general Tan Phannara said the ministry is prepared to recommend a plan with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and has discussed with a few organisations to obtain the vaccine.

“If we need the vaccine, they will help us but we have not decided to acquire the vaccine from any side yet,” he said, adding that the industry breeds about three million cows and buffaloes.

First detected in 1929 in Zambia, the disease is caused by the LSD virus, which is part of the Capripoxvirus genus.

It predominantly affects cattle and to a certain extent other large animals, causing their skin to break out in small or big lumps, and effecting a fever of around 41 degrees Celcius.

The lumps can lead to scabs and ulcer, which can affect the male species’ ability to mate while pregnant females can suffer miscarriages.

The disease can spread via direct and indirect contact and other contagious agents, and has a morbidity rate of between five and 45 per cent and mortality rate of 10 per cent.

As such, the outbreak can have a serious impact to the animal husbandry sector and national economy.

Presently, Tan said a research has been conducted to assess how Cambodia fared among its neighbour that have a history of this infection.

“We also drew on other experiences from treatment methods [used by our] neighbours as the disease is curable. We are studying various vaccines that each country rolled out so that we can roll one out in Cambodia soon,” he told The Post on May 26.

An online meeting led by Tan and attended by top officers from various departments of the ministry on May 25, urged border authorities to strictly monitor the import of animals into Cambodia to prevent illegal entries.

He said scrutiny was pertinent to avoid the entry of cattle infected by LSD into Cambodia, which has not recorded a single LSD case in the past.

“If there is an accidental entry at the national border, other departments at provincial borders will have to seriously strengthen inspection to prevent the disease from moving further into Cambodia,” he added.

According to the ministry, on May 7, 2021, Thailand reported an outbreak of the disease in 17 provinces, four of which share a border with Cambodia.

In recent years, China experienced an LSD outbreak between August 2019 and June 2020 while 20 areas in north and central Vietnam suffered the same from October 5, 2020 to December 6, 2020.