An outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus has now spread to 16 cases across three states. According to USDA's Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service, the cases are spread across Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, and 15 sites across eight counties are currently under quarantine. the amount of confirmed cases of the disease doubled in this week's report.
Currently there is no known vaccine or antibiotic for the disease, nor is much known about the way it originates in its host. If the virus is found in one animal, it is quarantined in an effort to minimize the risk of contagion. The virus can be found in sheep, horses, and cattle and causes fevers, affects eating patterns, and is visually recognized by severe, blister-like lesions surrounding the tongue, nostrils, hooves, and other sensitive areas.
“VS is very similar in its clinical appearance to Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), so it is important to determine if, in fact, it is VS and not the more serious foreign animal disease, FMD,” said a statement by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Due to the proximity with the cases found in Colorado, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is also encouraging increased monitoring of equine and livestock for signs of the virus.
According to APHIS, dairy cattle can "appear to be normal" despite being infected with the disease. However, the animals will only consume about half of their regular feed intake, resulting in severe weight loss and a drop in milk production.
The first case of the disease was confirmed June 21 in Kinney County, Texas.
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