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The outbreak of Lumpy skin disease in livestock has killed over 67000 cattle since its outbreak in July, the Central Government informed on Monday. The disease is mainly spread in eight states Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Some stray cases of the disease are also reported from Andhra Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

"In Rajasthan, the number of death is 600-700 per day. But in other states, it is less than 100 in a single day," said Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department Secretary Jatindra Nath Swain, adding that the ministry has asked states to accelerate the vaccination process.

The rise in fatalities has prompted the government to speed up the vaccination of cattle in the affected states. “States are currently using the 'goat pox' vaccine to control lumpy skin disease (LSD) in cattle," he said, speaking to PTI.

"The commercial launch of a new vaccine 'Lumpi-ProVacInd' for LSD, developed by two institutes of Agri research body ICAR, will take the next "three-four months," he said.

The Secretary also informed that the ‘goat-pox vaccine’ is "100 percent effective" and almost 1.5 crore doses are already administered to the ill cattle in affected states.

Currently, two companies are engaged in the production of the ‘goat-pox vaccine’ and they have the capacity of producing 4 crore doses in a month. The supply of the vaccine is sufficient, the Secretary informed.

The population of cattle in India is 20 crore and already 1.5 crore doses are administered, so the supply of vaccination doesn't seem to be much of a concern for the government. The ‘1 ml’ dose of the vaccination is enough for the areas still not affected while the areas under the garb of the virus must use a ‘3 ml’ dose of the ‘goat-pox’ vaccine.

The commercial launch of the vaccine may take the next “three to four months". "The manufacturers will have to take permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for commercial production of the new vaccine. It will take next 3-4 months for commercial launch," he added.

The Lumpy Skin disease also affects the milk production capacity of the cattle. When asked about the effects on the milk procuction the managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets dairy products under the Amul brand, R S Sodhi informed that in the state of Gujarat the impact has been marginal at 0.5%.

He also added that the situation of the spread of disease in Gujarat also seems to be under control due to rapid vaccination.

"The procurement of organized milk producers including Amul has gone down compared to the year-ago period. But this cannot be attributed to LSD. Unlike last year, unorganized players, sweet makers and hotels are aggressively procuring milk," he said.

"There is a minor impact on production in the overall scheme of things," said Managing Director of milk brand Mother Dairy Manish Bandlish.

Lumpy Skin Disease is a contagious viral disease that affects cattle and causes fever, skin nodules, and death. Mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps spread the disease through direct contact with cattle as well as contaminated food and water. The disease entered India, Bangladesh and China in July 2019.

According to the 19th Livestock Census 2019, India has a cattle population of 192.5 million and the country is also the largest producer of milk in the world producing 210 million tonnes of milk.

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