ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This year’s outbreak of vesicular stomatitis now has been confirmed, not only in horses in Texas and New Mexico, but also in two head of cattle in Starr County, about 225 miles south of San Antonio.
Confirmed. The Texas Animal Health Commission, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency, received notification of the positive laboratory results late June 29.
“The two infected cattle are on separate quarantined premises in Starr County and are the first confirmed cases in cattle in the U.S. since the l997 VS outbreak involving New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah,” said Max Coats, deputy director for the commissions Animal Health Programs.
The 1998 outbreak involved only horses.
Testing positive. On one of the premises in Starr County, one cow among a handful of cattle tested positive for the disease, and no other susceptible animals are on the site.
On the second premise, the owner has an infected cow and horse, and there are about 30 other head of cattle and several horses that have no clinical signs.
They have tested negative for the disease, Coats said.
As of June 30, vesicular stomatitis infection in 2004 has been detected on a total of 15 premises in Texas and New Mexico.
Disease investigations. Disease investigations also are continuing.
With the exception of two sites in Starr County, all cases involve horses.
Vesicular stomatitis, a viral infection, occurs sporadically in the southwestern U.S. and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies.
This painful but short-term disease can cause blistering and erosions in and around the mouth, and around the muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, goats, swine, deer and some other livestock.
Infected. Infected animals with open sores can expose herd mates to the disease through close contact or by the sharing of feed buckets or bits.
As a precaution, all infected and susceptible livestock on a premise are quarantined until at least 30 days after all infected animals have healed.
Samples from horses are tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory at Ames, Iowa.
As a safety measure, samples from cloven-hooved animals are shipped to Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory on Plum Island, N.Y., where they are subjected to testing for both vesicular stomatitis and foot-and-mouth disease.
Livestock transporters should check with their intended state of destination to obtain the latest information on testing requirements, movement restrictions or other vesicular stomatitis-related regulations.
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