The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today started a programme to train European laboratory staff on how to use nuclear-derived techniques to detect lumpy skin disease – a highly infectious cowpox virus spreading across the continent.
“Lumpy skin disease has always been considered exotic in Europe, therefore many laboratories in the region are not prepared to detect it, or to differentiate between its various strains,” said Giovanni Cattoli, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/IAEA joint Animal Protection and Health Laboratory, in a press release.
Traditionally common to Africa and Asia, lumpy skin disease emerged in Turkey in 2013 and has since rapidly spread through south-eastern Europe. The disease has been detected to date in six European countries – Greece, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro – with new cases being reported weekly. With a cattle herd of around 87 million heads, the European Union would be severely affected.