Guidance: Lumpy skin disease: how to spot and report it

Animal Plant Health Agency

September 28
08:26 2023

Lumpy skin disease affects cattle, water buffalo and some exotic species including antelope and giraffes.

Sheep and goats are not affected by lumpy skin disease. For sheep and goats, see sheep pox and goat pox.

Lumpy skin disease can cause severe illness in susceptible animals. Outbreaks can cause trade and movement restrictions.

Lumpy skin disease does not affect people or food safety.

It has never been present in Great Britain.

How to spot lumpy skin disease

Signs of lumpy skin disease include:

  • fever
  • drop in milk production
  • one or more painful, firm nodules on the skin, nose, mouth or body - as the disease progresses these nodules may crust over or necrose, increasing the risk of secondary infection
  • yellowish-grey lesions (skin damage) on the tongue
  • swollen and tender udder or testicles
  • discharge from the nose and eyes
  • more saliva than usual
  • bulls becoming sterile and cows having abortions
  • swollen lymph nodes, for example on the neck
  • death (in rare cases)

Some infected animals may not show any signs of the disease.

How to report lumpy skin disease

Lumpy skin disease is a notifiable animal disease. This means that if you suspect it you must report it immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

In England, call the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

In Wales, call 0300 303 8268.

In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office.

What happens when you report a notifiable disease in your animals.

How lumpy skin disease is spread

Lumpy skin disease is spread by biting flies and mosquitoes. They can carry the infection to other animals after feeding on the skin lesions of infected animals.

It can also be spread through infected germinal products (bovine semen, ova and embryos).

Preventing and controlling lumpy skin disease

You can help prevent lumpy skin disease with good hygiene and biosecurity on your premises.

If you suspect lumpy skin disease you must report it immediately.

Find out more about preventing animal disease and how the government will control an outbreak in:

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 28 September 2023 +show all updates
  1. Amended the list of affected animals lumpy skin disease can also affect exotic species like antelope and giraffes. Updated the signs of the disease.

  2. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated.

  3. Added a link to the lumpy skin disease control strategy.

  4. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  5. First published.

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