TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over 80 percent of the 6,282 cattle in the outlying Kinmen islands have been immunized against lumpy skin disease, an infectious illness allegedly transported from China and which poses a threat to Taiwan’s beef and dairy markets.
In a bid to contain the outbreak caused by the mosquito-borne disease, Taiwan on July 23 began administering to the cattle 10,000 vaccine doses donated by the European Union. A total of 149 cattle were culled as of July 23, with 100 more scheduled to be killed.
Inoculation work will be implemented for two to three years per the instructions of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), said Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城), deputy minister at the Council of Agriculture (COA). The race to vaccinate the animals has seen veterinarians from three universities mobilized, and 5,142 cattle had received a shot as of Monday (July 27).
Lumpy skin disease, which afflicts cattle and buffalo, leads to symptoms of fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and multiple nodules on the skin, with a fatality rate of 1 to 5 percent. It results in a drop of lactation yields in sick dairy cows, and afflicted animals are deemed of little economic value.
The export of fresh beef from Kinmen to the rest of Taiwan was banned earlier this month due to the outbreak. Whether to lift relevant restrictions will hinge on further evaluation and monitoring, according to Huang.