By NewsDesk    @infectiousdiseasenews

Kansas and federal officials are reporting Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) cases in horses in Sherman County, making Kansas the eighth state to report confirmed cases of VSV this year.


Three of 5 horses on the premises are showing clinical signs of VSV and one of the horses has met confirmed case definition of an index case in a new state with a VSV-positive complement fixation titer of 1:40 or greater.

Two of the affected horses are also PCR-positive for VSV-Indiana. There are 14 cattle on the premises that are clinically unaffected and the premises is currently under state quarantine.

“Protecting the health and safety of horses and other livestock in Kansas is our highest priority,” said Dr. Justin Smith, Animal Health Commissioner. “We encourage all livestock owners to be aware and follow best practices to limit exposure to insects. We also advise owners to take extra precautions with animals that may be comingling with other animals.”

The 2019 VSV outbreak began on June 21, 2019, when the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed the first VSV-positive premises in Kinney County, Texas. New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Utah, and Kansas subsequently broke with cases.

Since the start of the outbreak, 1,131 VSV-affected premises have been identified (462 confirmed positive, 669 suspect).

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VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. The disease is characterized by 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.  Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, and can develop flu-like symptoms.

The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should institute aggressive measures to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. Premises with animals diagnosed with VSV are quarantined until at least 14 days after the last affected animal is diagnosed. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VSV.