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Hemato-biochemical changes, molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the 2022 Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) outbreak in Cholistan, Pakistan

Tayyaba Asghar1, Mudassar Mohiuddin1*, Ayesha Mohiud Din2,3, Tahira Kamal4, Muhammad Khalid Mansoor1,

Abubakar Siddique5,6,7, Mudasser Habib8, Riaz Hussain9, Muhammad Taslim Ghori10, Hira Hameed1, Humaira Rizwana11,

Islem Abid12, Muhammad Ehsan13, Aroosh Shabbir14

1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

2Department of Biotechnology, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan

3School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

4National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology, National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad, Pakistan

5Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan

6Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, China

7Hainan Institute of Zhejiang University, Sanya, China

8Animal Sciences Division, Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology, Faisalabad, Pakistan

9Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

10Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

11Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

12Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology Research, King Saud University, P.O Box 2455, Riyad 11495, Saudi Arabia

13Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

14Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), The University of Lahore, Pakistan


The lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) is a member of the Capripox genus of the Poxviridae family. It is the causative agent of lumpy skin, a highly contagious disease of cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats. In 2022, several outbreaks of LSD were reported in the Cholistan region of Pakistan, which has a large population of livestock living in arid conditions. A total of 230 blood/serum and scab samples were collected from three LSD outbreak locations. Clinically, affected cattle showed acute clinical signs characterized by skin nodules, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, emaciation, and lower leg edema. Hematological findings revealed non-significant changes in red blood cell and white blood cell counts (some animals had leukocytosis while others were leukopenic) whereas, hemoglobin level were significantly low. Platelet count, MPV, PCT, P-LRC, and P-LCC were elevated. Granulocytes were significantly low in LSD affected cattle while lymphocyte counts were significantly high. Serological findings revealed elevated protein levels, along with high creatinine and ALT concentrations. Amplification of DNA-dependent RNA polymerase 30 kDa subunit gene (RPO30) confirmed the presence of LSD virus in all suspected samples. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all Pakistani isolates clustered closely with isolates from neighboring countries. The SNPs differences were less than 20 among these isolates, indicating their close resemblance with each other. It can, therefore, be inferred that our LSD strains might be originated from neighboring Asian countries, that were affected by LSD in previous years.

Keywords: Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), Cholistan, Skin lesions, Hematology, Phylogenetic analysis

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