Researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology on September 16 said the unusual transmission of lumpy skin disease in India may have happened because of the 47 variants found in the country.

Lumpy skin disease is a contagious virus that spreads among cattle through mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps along with contaminated food and water. The disease causes fever and nodules on the skin. It can be fatal.

This year, the lumpy skin disease has spread to seven states in India and killed 80,000 cattle. The findings of the study, reported on BioRxvi, suggested that the virus has a distinct lineage in India.

“Genomic findings highlight the requirement for large-scale genomic surveillance and close monitoring to track the spread of the virus in cattle for building better diagnosis in future,” Dr Sridhar Sivasubbu, lead researcher of the study, told The Indian Express.

Due to the limited number of genome sequences available for the virus, the source of the outbreak could not be traced, further suggesting that additional genomes of the virus could help uncover potential outbreaks, the report noted.

The Lumpi-ProVacInd for the disease was developed based on the variants of the virus found in 2019, The Hindu reported. It does not offer protection against the new variants.

However, experimental trials conducted on animals infected in 2022 have shown encouraging results, the Ministry of Agriculture has said.

Currently, the only vaccines available for the viral infection are meant for goat pox and sheep pox, which are related to the lumpy skin disease.