Economic Impact of Vesicular Stomatitis Outbreak Expected

by | 07.22.2015 | 7:10am

While the scope of the  recent vesicular stomatitis (VS) outbreak in the United States has yet to be determined, affected states can expect some economic consequences, says Dr. Angela Pelxel-McCluskey, a VS specialist with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said the 2014 outbreak of the disease was the worst seen in the States since 2005, when economic impacts were far-reaching.

The 2015 outbreak affected Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. An outbreak in 2014 affected Arizona, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas, affecting 408 horses. Colorado was most heavily affected, with 370 premises in 17 counties.

Transmitted by biting flies, VS is a viral disease that causes blisters on the mouth, lips and tongue of livestock, mostly horses and cattle. These vesicles can also form on the sheath, udder or coronary bands.  These blisters eventually rupture and form ulcers. There is no treatment.

VS is an expensive disease; there are vet bills to pay to diagnose the horse with VS, then supportive care for the affected animals. Lengthy fly control must then be enacted to keep the disease from spreading.  The affected premises are then placed under extensive quarantine periods, on average 30 days or longer, preventing some horses from being shown or moved.

Boarding barns were greatly affected and difficult to manage; equine events suffered serious impacts with reduced attendance because of equine movement restrictions or even cancellation if the event area itself was under quarantine.

Additionally, horses that were traveling internationally were affected as countries with strick VS testing requirements did not allow entry of horses from specific states. It remains to be seen if trhe scope of the 2015 of the outbreak will be as severe as 2014 outbreak.

Transmitted by biting flies, VS is a viral disease that causes blisters on the mouth, lips and tongue of livestock, mostly horses and cattle. These vesicles can also form on the sheath, udder or coronary bands.  These blisters eventually rupture and form ulcers. There is no treatment.

Read more in Equine Disease Quarterly.  

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