VSV reaches 20 Kansas counties

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 4:03 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Vesicular Stomatitis Virus has now been identified in 20 Kansas counties.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture says it has identified positive cases of vesicular stomatitis virus in 20 Kansas counties and its Division of Animal Health will continue to respond to the outbreak

The KDA says the VSV outbreak began in south-central Kansas in mid-June and expanded reaching to the north and the east.

The Department says almost 90 premises have confirmed cases of VSV in Allen, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Sedgwick, Sumner, Wilson and Woodson counties.

The KDA also says it is waiting for laboratory results from animals in other counties as the virus spreads.

According to the Department, those that have positive cases of VSV in horses and cattle have been quarantined. It also says any residence with animals showing signs of VSV have been placed on quarantine.

The Department says there are currently over 90 premises that have been quarantined.

According to the KDA, a quarantine for VSV lasts 14 days from the start of symptoms in the last animal on the property and they are not lifted until a veterinarian has examined all animals that can catch the disease on the property. It says so far, over 90 premises have been released from quarantine.

“The VSV outbreak is still spreading, and all owners of horses, cattle, and other livestock must continue to take action to protect their animals,” said Dr. Justin Smith, Animal Health Commissioner. “You can help slow the spread of this virus by taking aggressive steps to limit exposure to insects that are the primary source of infection and by keeping your animals separate from other animals which may be infected. Meanwhile, you should monitor for symptoms of VSV, and call your veterinarian if you see anything of concern.”

According to the KDA, VSV is a viral disease primarily affecting horses, as well as cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas.

The Department says currently the majority of confirmed cases of the virus in Kansas have been horses, but some cattle have been diagnosed as well.

The KDA says it advises the beef industry to be cautious while monitoring cattle for symptoms.

According to the Department, VSV in horses, VSV is usually characterized by lesions appearing as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands, or ventral abdomen, while 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.

The Department says those animals infected may refuse to eat and drink, which causes weight loss and VSV can be painful animals as well as costly owners. 

According to the KDA, while rare, people can also become infected with the VSV while handling animals that have been infected and can develop flu-like symptoms.

The KDA says VSV is considered a reportable disease and if clinical signs among animals are seen, owners should contact their veterinarians right away.

According to the department, the main way the virus is spread is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges and owners should start using extreme measures to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed.

The Department says VSV can also be spread via nose-to-nose contact between animals and while the virus itself typically runs its course in five to seven days, it can also take up to another seven days for infected animals to recover from the symptoms. It says there are still no approved vaccines for VSV. 

The KDA says it has developed measures to help facilities hosting shows and fairs throughout the state, and have been working with many of them to understand how they can protect the health and safety of all those attending their events.

According to the KDA, VSV has also been confirmed in Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and due to the confirmed cases in Kansas, other states and Canada may increase restrictions on livestock imports.

The Department says it strongly encourages all livestock owners and veterinarians to call the animal health authority in their area for the most up to date import requirements before traveling.

The KDA has provided information on VSV which can be found on the KDA website or by calling the KDA Division of Animal Health at 785-564-6601.

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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