Vesicular Stomatitus Virus Confirmed in Oklahoma

Posted by Press Release on 07/30/2019

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—JULY 30, 2019—On July 29, 2019, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry confirmed the finding of vesicular stomatitis virus, also known as VSV, at a premise in Tillman county. This horse showed erosions in its mouth. 

VSV is a viral disease of horses, donkeys, mules, cattle and swine. Initial symptoms include excessive salivation and reluctance to eat or drink. Clinical signs include vesicles, erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, ears, teats and coronary bands of their hooves. Lameness or weight loss may follow. Body temperature may rise immediately before or at the same time lesions first appear. 

In 2019, VSV has been reported in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. This is the first outbreak since 2015-2016 and the first case in Oklahoma since the 1990s. 

What Livestock Owners Need to Know:

  • VSV affects primarily horses and cattle.
  • VSV normally has an incubation period of 2-8 days before the infected animal develops blisters that swell and burst, leaving painful sores.
  • The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or by blood-feeding insects.
  • If VSV is confirmed, infected animals are quarantined for 14 days after clinical signs of lesions are observed. This short-term quarantine helps prevent the movement of animals and the spread of the disease to other premises, fairs or markets.
  • Humans can also become infected with VSV, but it is a very rare event. 

Recommended Actions
There is currently no USDA-approved vaccination for VSV. Even with the best defensive measures, VSV could infect a herd. However, these tips could help protect livestock: 

  • Control biting flies
  • Keep equine stalled or under a roof at night to reduce exposure to flies 
  • Keep stalls clean
  • Feed and water stock in individual buckets 
  • Don’t visit any premise that is under quarantine

Veterinarians and livestock owners who suspect VSV in their animals should immediately contact the OK State Veterinarians office at (405) 522-6141.

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