BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Thailand has ordered strict controls on the movement of cattle and buffaloes, after an outbreak of a virus that causes lumps to form on the animals’ skin and can reduce milk production, a government official said on Sunday (May 23).

The rarely fatal disease, which does not affect people and is thought to be spread by flies or mosquitoes, is new in Thailand and has already infected more than 6,700 cows and buffaloes in 35 provinces across the country, according to government deputy spokesman Traisulee Traisaranakul.

“The Prime Minister is concerned about the smuggling of cattle and buffaloes from neighbouring countries, which is an important factor in the spread of the disease, as well as unsanctioned domestic movement,” Ms Traisulee said, referring to General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

She said animals should only be moved when it is necessary under the guidelines of the department of livestock development.

According to official livestock registration data, there are 6.2 million beef cattle, 707,000 dairy cattle and 1.2 million buffaloes around Thailand.