Nebraska’s First 2020 Case of Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed
In its June 24 Situation Report, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed Nebraska’s first case of vesicular stomatitis, with one horse on a Buffalo County premises testing positive for vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Indiana serotype.

Four horses live on the premises, two of which show clinical signs of muzzle and/or lip lesions that first appeared around June 17. No other susceptible species are housed there. Biosecurity protocols and vector mitigation have been enacted to curtail the spread of the virus within the herd.

Currently, four other states have been affected by VSV in 2020: Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas. Two premises remain under quarantine in Arizona (Maricopa County) and 32 in Kansas (Butler, Cowley, and Sedgwick counties). All premises in New Mexico and Texas have been released from quarantine.

Veterinarians quarantine and monitor premises with confirmed positive and suspect cases for at least 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last animal affected.

VS 101

Vesicular stomatitis virus can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats, or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and a number of other animals. Lesions usually heal in two or three weeks.

Because of the virus’ contagious nature and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately. Most animals recover with supportive care by a veterinarian.

“Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in the Western Hemisphere,” APHIS said on its website. “It is known to be an endemic disease in the warmer regions of North, Central, and South America, and outbreaks of the disease in other temperate geographic parts of the hemisphere occur sporadically. The Southwestern and Western United States have experienced a number of vesicular stomatitis outbreaks … Outbreaks usually occur during the warmer months, often along waterways.” According to Angela Pelzel McCluskey, DVM, APHIS’ equine epidemiologist, the largest VS outbreak in more than 40 years of recorded history occurred in 2019.

Some states and other countries might restrict movement of, or impose additional requirements for, susceptible animals from states having known VS cases. Before moving livestock, contact the state of destination for its requirements.