Lumpy skin disease: how to spot and report the disease

How to spot lumpy skin disease, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Lumpy skin disease affects cattle and water buffalo. Humans aren’t affected.

It has never been present in Great Britain.

Lumpy skin disease is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot lumpy skin disease

Infected cattle and water buffalo may have a fever and their milk production may fall. Other signs may include:

  • nodules: small bumps beneath the skin in the nose, mouth and on the body
  • yellowish-grey lesions (damage to the skin) on the tongue
  • swollen and tender udder or testicles
  • discharge from the eye and nose
  • salivation from the mouth
  • bulls becoming sterile and cows having abortions
  • swollen lymph nodes, for example beneath the neck

The nodules may form a hardened crust, which carries the infection.

How lumpy skin disease is spread

Lumpy skin disease is thought to be spread by biting flies and mosquitoes, which feed on the skin lesions.

Minor routes of infection are close contact with infected animals and contaminated food and water.

Preventing and controlling lumpy skin disease

You can help prevent disease by practising practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of lumpy skin disease APHA vets will investigate.

If lumpy skin disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases and the lumpy skin disease control strategy.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to lumpy skin disease

Lumpy skin disease is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996..

EU Council Directive 82/894/EEC on measures for the control of certain animal diseases and Council Directive 92/119/EEC on the notification of animal diseases also apply.

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated.

  2. Added a link to the lumpy skin disease control strategy.

  3. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  4. First published.