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Lumpy skin disease is characterised by severe multifocal dermatitis with necrotising fibrinoid vasculitis following experimental infection

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Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2020


Lumpy skin disease is a high-consequence disease in cattle caused by infection with the poxvirus lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). The virus is endemic in most countries in Africa and an emerging threat to cattle populations in Europe and Asia. As LSDV spreads into new regions it is important that signs of disease are recognised promptly by animal care-givers. This study describes the gross, microscopic and ultrastructural changes which occur over time in cattle experimentally challenged with LSDV. Four calves were inoculated with wildtype LSDV and monitored for 19-21 days. At 7 days after inoculation, two of the four cattle developed multifocal cutaneous nodules characteristic of LSD. Some lesions displayed a targetoid appearance. Histologically, intercellular and intracellular oedema was present in the epidermis of some nodules. Occasional intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies were identified in keratinocytes. More severe and consistent changes were present in the dermis, with marked histiocytic inflammation and necrotising fibrinoid vasculitis of dermal vessels, particularly the deep dermal plexus. Chronic lesions consisted of full-thickness necrosis of the dermis and epidermis. Lesions in other body organs were not a major feature of LSD in this study, highlighting the strong cutaneous tropism of this virus. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy identified LSDV-infected histiocytes and fibroblasts in the skin nodules of affected cattle. This study highlights the noteworthy lesions of LSDV and how they develop over time.

    Research areas

  • Bovine, dermatitis, lumpy skin disease virus, poxviridae, skin, transboundary animal diseases, vasculitis

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