Original Research

The detection of lumpy skin disease virus in samples of experimentally infected cattle using different diagnostic techniques

E.S.M. Tuppurainen, E.H. Venter, J.A.W. Coetzer
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 72, No 2 | a213 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v72i2.213 | © 2005 E.S.M. Tuppurainen, E.H. Venter, J.A.W. Coetzer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2005 | Published: 17 September 2005

About the author(s)

E.S.M. Tuppurainen,
E.H. Venter,
J.A.W. Coetzer,

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Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a disease of cattle, primarily in Africa and Madagascar and rarely in the Middle East. It is caused by a capripoxvirus that belongs to the family Poxviridae. The disease is of economic importance in endemic areas. Effective control of LSD requires accurate and rapid laboratory techniques to confirm a tentative clinical diagnosis. Comparative studies on different diagnostic tests used at different stages of the disease have not been done. The aim of this study was to compare several of these tests.
Six seronegative bulls, between 11 and 20 months of age, were infected intravenously and kept in an insect-free facility. The course of the infection was monitored. During a 3-month period blood samples and skin biopsies were collected for virus isolation and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Skin biopsies were also examined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
The incubation period in infected animals varied from 4-5 days. The length of the viraemic period did not correlate with the severity of clinical disease. Viraemia was detected from 1-12 days using virus isolation and from 4-11 days using the PCR, which is longer than has previously been reported. Virus was isolated from skin biopsies until Day 39 post infection (p.i.) and PCR could demonstrate viral DNA until Day 92 p.i. Transmission electron microscopy of negatively stained skin biopsies detected LSD virus only in one of the four bulls that developed skin lesions until Day 33 p.i.
The PCR was a fast and sensitive method to demonstrate viral DNA in blood and skin samples. It could detect viral nucleic acid in skin lesions 53 days longer than virus isolation. Virus isolation from blood and skin samples was sensitive and reliable, but as a single test it may be too time-consuming to use although this depends on how rapidly the diagnosis must be confirmed.
In conclusion, this study showed the PCR to be superior in detecting LSD virus from blood and skin samples. However, virus isolation is still required when the infectivity of the LSD virus is to be determined. Indexed by Sabinet Online


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