It is known that lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) can be shed in bull semen following infection
and that artificial insemination (AI) poses a biosecurity risk. It is however not known whether
the use of LSDV infected semen in AI poses a biosecurity risk. The aims of the current study
were to investigate whether LSDV, transmitted through semen, can infect cows and embryos..
Two controlled trials were performed simultaneously. Eleven (11) young beef heifers, naïve to
LSDV, were synchronized using an OvSynch protocol and inseminated with fresh semen
spiked with a field strain of LSDV on day 0. Six (6) of the heifers were superovulated on Day 1
using PMSG, and embryos were flushed from these heifers on Day 6. Blood and serum
samples were collected from Day 4 until Day 27 to determine the presence of LSDV by PCR
and virus isolation, and the presence of antibodies against LSDV by SNT.
The first clinical signs of LSD were noticed on Day 10, followed by severe generalized LSD in
3 heifers, and mild LSD in 2 more heifers. Two heifers were humanely euthanized due to
severe unresponsive stranguria. LSDV was detected by PCR, virus isolation or electron
microscopy in blood, embryos and organs of experimentally infected animals, and 8 heifers
had seroconverted by Day 27. Two control animals were not affected.
This is the first report of experimental seminal transmission of LSDV in cattle.