MANHATTAN, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has now identified positive cases of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in 20 Kansas counties in Kansas. The virus affects horses and cattle. The KDA's Division of Animal Health continues to respond to the VSV outbreak that began in south central Kansas in mid-June and has now spread to the north and east.
What is VSV?
VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. At this time, the vast majority of confirmed cases of VSV in Kansas have been horses, although some cattle have also been diagnosed. KDA has advised the beef industry to be vigilant in monitoring their cattle for symptoms. In horses, VSV is typically characterized by lesions which appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands, or ventral abdomen. Other clinical signs of the disease include fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, ears, hooves and teats. Infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for infected animals and costly to their owners. Although it is rare, humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals and can develop flu-like symptoms. VSV is considered a reportable disease in Kansas. If you observe clinical signs among your animals, contact your veterinarian right away.
All places with confirmed cases of VSV in horses and cattle have been quarantined; in addition, any premises with animals showing clinical signs consistent with VSV are placed on quarantine. More than 90 premises are currently under quarantine. A quarantine for VSV lasts for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms in the last animal on the premises. Quarantines are not lifted until a veterinarian has examined all susceptible animals on the premises.
Nearly 90 premises have tested positive for VSV in Allen, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Sedgwick, Sumner, Wilson and Woodson counties. In addition, KDA is awaiting laboratory results from symptomatic animals in other counties as the outbreak continues to spread.
The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should institute robust measures to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed. There are no approved vaccines for VSV.
VSV in the U.S.
VSV has also been confirmed in Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Because of the confirmed cases in Kansas, other states and Canada are likely to increase restrictions on livestock imports.
More information about VSV can be found by contacting the KDA's Division of Animal Health.
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