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Vesicular Stomatitis

First case of VSV in Colorado; Delta County horse tests positive

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Colorado has become the fifth state in the country to
have a confirmed case of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). A six-year-old
horse in Delta County tested positive for the disease, and the premise has
been placed under quarantine.

“VSV is not a human health issue, but it can have severe economic impact on
livestock owners, especially in the dairy industry,” said Wayne Cunningham,
state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “The disease
usually doesn’t result in an animal’s death, but the main reason we watch
it closely is due to fact that the symptoms closely resemble foot-and-mouth
disease, which is much more economically devastating.”

In 2004, 148 horses, 119 cattle, four sheep and goats, and two alpacas were
infected with the disease, involving a total of 107 premises across the

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that is usually not fatal but
causes painful lesions around an infected animal’s mouth, nostrils, teats
and hooves, symptoms similar to foot-and-mouth disease. Only laboratory
tests can differentiate the diseases. All disease samples from Colorado
were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for

VSV primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine. These blisters enlarge and
break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful infected animals generally
refuse to eat or drink and show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss
usually follows.

Since the disease is believed to be spread by insects, preventative
measures include keeping susceptible animals in dry corrals and stables,
using insecticides and insect repellents daily, providing good nutrition
and practicing best management techniques.

Prior to 2004, the last case of VSV in Colorado was diagnosed in 1998.
Although vulnerable, humans are rarely infected with the disease and
usually display flu-like symptoms. In addition to livestock, other
susceptible animals include llamas, goats and wild animals such as deer,
bobcats and raccoons.

As of July 12, the current number of premises quarantined because of VS:
Arizona 13; New Mexico 6;
Utah 4; and Colorado 1.

You can stay up to date on the case counts and states affected by going to
the Texas Animal Health Commission web site at : www.tahc.state.su and selecting the link to “USDA Vesicular Stomatitis Information Page.”

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