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Health agency confirms vesicular stomatitis case
AUSTIN -- Vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been detected in five horses in far Southwest Texas -- in Kinney County, southeast of Del Rio -- according to a May 28 Texas Animal Health Commission press release. This case marks the first case in the United States this year. The last confirmed case of VS in Texas was 2009.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the viral
infection of the five horses. The horses were tested after the owner observed blistering and swelling on the animals’ muzzles and contacted their veterinary practitioner. Testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype.
Vesicular stomatitis 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 will heal in two or three weeks. Because of the contagious nature of VS 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 well with supportive care by a veterinarian, but some lesions can be painful.
The newly identified infected group of horses is currently under quarantine by the Texas Animal Health Commission. There is no known exposure to other horses around the state, or at any equine events. No other cases of VS have been identified in the immediate area or elsewhere in the state.
Some states and other countries may restrict movement of, or impose additional requirements for, susceptible animals from states having known cases of VS; therefore contact the state or country of origin for their requirements prior to moving livestock.
“VS is not highly contagious to people but it can cause flu-like illness if infected saliva gets into an open wound, eyes, or mouth,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, assistant executive director and state epidemiologist. “People handling potentially infected animals should wear gloves for protection, and talk with their physician if they have questions.”
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