The Centre on Thursday said that around 57,000 cattle have died till now due to lumpy skin disease, and told states where cases have been reported to boost vaccination efforts, PTI reported.

Lumpy skin disease is a contagious viral disease that spreads among cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice, and wasps by direct contact, as also through contaminated food and water. The disease causes fever and nodules on the skin, and it can be fatal.

Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala said that the outbreak has spread in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. He made the statement at a press conference ahead of the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit 2022 in Greater Noida.

Rupala said the disease can be controlled effectively by administering the goat pox vaccine and following containment protocols.

“We have adequate vaccines…work is on to protect the animals,” the minister said. “Goat pox [vaccine] is 100 per cent safe and 100 per cent effective.”

Last month, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Equines and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute developed an indigenous vaccine, Lumpi-ProVacInd, for the lumpy skin disease. Lumpi-ProVacInd is a live attenuated vaccine, similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella, reported The Indian Express.

However, the Centre is yet to commercially launch the vaccine.

The states affected by lumpy skin disease are among the country’s top milk producers. Uttar Pradesh alone contributes 18% to India’s total milk production, according to The Indian Express.

Rajasthan is one of the states that has been worst-affected by the disease. Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying Secretary Jatindra Nath Swain said that out of 57,000 cattle that have died so far, around 37,000 were in Rajasthan, reported PTI.

However, the Centre has denied that the outbreak has affected production of milk.

With 22% of global production, India is the world’s largest milk producer, followed by the United States, China, Pakistan, and Brazil.