Update July 23, 2014
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) reports it received confirmation of three new cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in horses in the central part of the state.
One is located a mile northwest of Webberville in Travis County. Another is located 4 miles east of Webberville in Bastrop County and the third is premises is located 8 miles southeast of Seguin in Guadalupe County. The horses are being monitored by veterinarians and the premises are under quarantine for at least 21 days until after all lesions have healed.
Since late May, 13 locations in eight Texas counties have had confirmed cases of VS including Kinney, Hidalgo, San Patricio, Nueces, Jim Wells, Bastrop, Travis, and Guadalupe counties.
The Kinney County property has been released from quarantine, according to state officials. On May 28, officials announced the first cases of vesicular stomatitis in the U.S. for 2014. The disease was last seen in Texas in 2009.
On July 8th, the first VS cases in Texas cattle were announced after being confirmed in two head in south Texas, about six miles southwest from Mathis.
Five days earlier, a horse 10 miles south of Mathis was confirmed to have VS.
Many animals recover after a couple of weeks, but if the vesicles become infected, officials say the recovery process, which includes treatment of the horse’s symptoms, may take longer. Symptoms include blisters and sores in the mouth, tongue, muzzle, teats, sheath, or hooves. Other animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas, can also be infected.
Owners are urged to report symptoms to their vets immediately since VS is highly contagious and resembles other diseases such as foot and mouth disease.
While rare, humans can also be infected with the disease when handling affected animals. Symptoms are flu-like, with fever, muscle-aches and headaches.
There is no vaccine to prevent the virus. Experts believe insects, including black and sand flies, play an important role in the transmission of the virus, so insect prevention is recommended.
Several states including Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina, and Oklahoma have enhanced the entry requirements
for Texas livestock, including horses, due to the cases of VS.