Vesicular Stomatitis comes to Sublette County
Contagious viral disease affecting livestock
August 14, 2005
An outbreak of a contagious viral disease that affects livestock has been reported in Sublette County, according to news sources. Vesicular stomatitis causes painful, blister-like lesions in animals’ mouths which can cause the animals to stop eating and drinking. The disease affects cattle, horses, sheep, swine, goats, llamas and alpacas. It rarely affects humans, but can cause minor flu-like symptoms. VS typically runs its course in about two weeks.
A Sublette County cow was recently diagnosed with the disease. A veterinarian notified federal officials of a cow with lesions and other possible symptoms, which clinic tests later confirmed to be vesicular stomatitis. Although only one cow tested positive, the entire ranch has been quarantined, according to Bret Combs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's veterinarian in charge in Wyoming. There's no indication that the herd has traveled recently, boosting the possibility that the disease may have been transmitted by an insect.
The outbreak is prompting precautionary visual inspections at local fairs in Wyoming and Montana for any animal before being allowed to enter livestock barns. Animals entered in the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo Aug 13-20 in Douglas are being inspected as they enter the fair. Participants from out-of-state are encouraged to check with their own state veterinarians to see what paperwork might be needed to bring their livestock home after coming to Wyoming.
The VS virus shouldn’t impact the Wyoming livestock industry like last year’s brucellosis outbreak and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association reported they did not expect a disruption to the state’s cattle industry. No restrictions have been placed on Wyoming cattle from neighboring states.
The Wyoming Livestock Board implemented a policy in July relative to VS that stated no animal may be imported into Wyoming that is affected with, or has been recently exposed to any infectious, contagious or communicable disease that originates from a quarantine area or area suspected or harboring disease.
Other states that have VS infected livestock are Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Colorado (as of July 8, 2005). Movement restrictions are in place for livestock from those states and must be inspected by a veterinarian. Details of the movement restrictions are available on the Wyoming Livestock Board website.
According to the Livestock Board, "It is critical for veterinarians and livestock owners to be aware of the symptoms of VS as the viral disease can have major implications to the livestock industry. Additionally, it is necessary to have animals showing clinical signs immediately tested to differentiate between VS and Foot-and Mouth Disease, an extremely contagious infection affecting cloven-hooved animals."
Detailed information regarding VS is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture home page at www.usda.gov. For questions or concerns, contact the Wyoming Livestock Board, Animal Health Division, (307) 777-7515 option 1.
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Info Wyoming Livestock Board (July 8, 2005 news release)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Trich Test Numbers for Wyoming Sept. 2004 - August, 2005
Wyoming Livestock Board
Wyoming State Fair August 13-20, Douglas, Wyoming