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VSV Continues to Affect U.S. Livestock

Since the last USDA report on August 12, 71 more confirmed or suspect premises have been identified or quarantined in the U.S. for vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Recently, two more counties in Colorado – Gunnison County and Jefferson County – have had herds test positive for the virus, according to a recent USDA report.

Since the VSV outbreak, which occurred in April 2015, there have been 279 confirmed or suspected premises in the U.S, affecting the following seven states: Colorado, South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The first case was found in Grant County, New Mexico, confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

Currently, 140 premises remain under quarantine in five states: Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

This week, The Tribune in Colorado reported that there are now 70 locations in Colorado where horses, mules, and cattle herds have tested positive for the virus.

VSV is a viral disease, originating in Central America. According to Colorado State University Extension, the disease can spread north into Mexico and the U.S. during spring and summer. The virus infects cattle, pigs, horses, and rarely sheep, goats, and llamas.

The virus closely resembles foot-and-mouth disease in cattle; it's critical to get the correct diagnosis. Here’s what to look for:

•    Blisters, ulcers, and erosion of the lips, gums, and tongue that cause excessive salivation and difficulty eating.
•    Horses and cattle can develop lesions on the coronary bands, causing lameness.
•    In cows, teats typically have blisters and erosion, which can result in secondary mastitis.

VSV can be transmitted from animal to animal through biting insects and by direct contact with infected animals, according to Colorado State University Extension.

There is no one treatment or cure for VSV. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms are usually able to contain the infection. On-farm insect-control programs can help reduce the risk of disease. Humans should wear gloves when handling infected animals and take measures to avoid exposure all together.

Check USDA reports and updates here.

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