Vesicular stomatitis virus is now in 10 counties in Kansas.


The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced the Division of Animal Health continues to respond to the outbreak that began in south-central Kansas in mid-June and has now expanded its reach to the north and east.


More than 60 premises have tested positive for VSV in Butler, Chase, Cowley, Greenwood, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Sedgwick and Sumner counties. In addition, KDA is awaiting laboratory results from symptomatic animals in other counties as the outbreak continues to spread.


All premises with confirmed cases of VSV in horses have been quarantined. In addition, any premises with animals showing clinical signs consistent with VSV are placed on quarantine. Nearly 50 premises are currently under quarantine. A quarantine lasts for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms. Quarantines are not lifted until a veterinarian has examined all susceptible animals on the premises. More than 70 premises have been released from quarantine.


As of July 15, Butler, Cowley and Montgomery counties have the most cases. Greenwood, Marion and Morris counties have two or fewer cases.


VSV is a viral disease that primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. At this time, the vast majority of confirmed cases of VSV in Kansas have been horses, although some cattle have also been diagnosed. KDA has advised the beef industry to be vigilant in monitoring their cattle for symptoms.


In horses, VSV is typically characterized by lesions that appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands or ventral abdomen. Similar symptoms appear in cattle. Other clinical signs of the disease include fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, ears, hooves and teats. Infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for infected animals and costly to their owners.


The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should institute measures to reduce flies on premises. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus, which is not fatal, usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms.


KDA has developed guidelines to assist organizations that are hosting shows and fairs. VSV has also been confirmed in neighboring states.


Information about VSV can be found on the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/VSV.