Qualitative assessment of the entry of capripoxviruses into Great Britain from the European Union through importation of ruminant hides, skins and wool

P. Gale, L. Kelly, E.L. Snary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


Sheep pox and goat pox (SPGP) virus and lumpy skin disease (LSD) virus belong to the genus Capripoxvirus and cause disease with economic impacts in sheep/goats and cattle respectively. In 2013/14, outbreaks of SPGP were reported in sheep in Greece and Bulgaria and LSD outbreaks were
reported in cattle in Turkey, Egypt and some countries in the Middle East. Clinical signs for both diseases include pox lesions, papules and scabs on the skin which may contain virus. This, together with the fact that Great Britain (GB) currently imports cattle hides, sheep skins and wool from European Union (EU) countries without the requirement for treatment prior to export, raises concern that capripoxviruses could be introduced into GB. A qualitative assessment presented here concluded that the current risk of entry of SPGP virus into GB through the importation of one untreated sheep skin, hide or wool bale from an EU Member State (MS) with similar flock prevalence to that in sheep in Greece in 2013/14 is low. In terms of SPGP virus levels, those infected sheep skins/hides entering GB are more likely to be from infected animals with normal skin (i.e., not showing lesions) and hence carrying lower levels of virus than those from animals showing papules and scabs which contain very high virus levels and are easier to detect. The predicted risk of importation of LSD virus per cattle hide/skin is also low (assuming LSD were to emerge in an EU MS with similar herd prevalence to that reported for SPGP in Greece in 2013/14). The levels of LSD virus on an infected cow's hide, if imported, may be very low. It is recommended that the risks for entry of capripoxviruses are recalculated if outbreaks occur elsewhere within the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobial Risk Analysis
Early online date17 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • capripoxviruses
  • sheep pox virus
  • goat pox virus
  • lumpy skin disease virus
  • risk assessment
  • skins
  • hides
  • cattle

Cite this