AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL -- MAY 7, 2012 -- On May 1st, USDA confirmed the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection in two horses in Otero County, New Mexico. This was the first confirmation of VSV in the U.S. since the June 2010 outbreak in Cochise County, Arizona.
USDA and the New Mexico Livestock Board have initiated an epidemiological investigation, and the farm is currently under quarantine. Three other unaffected horses located on the index premises have been isolated from the positive animals. There are no known traceouts at this time.
VSV is a notifiable disease and USDA reported its findings to the World Animal Health Organization (OIE). In response, Canada has revised its entry requirements for U.S. livestock and livestock products:
"Effective immediately, horses originating from the state of New Mexico will not be permitted to enter Canada. Canadian horses returning from New Mexico will be allowed entry into Canada if additional import requirements are met. In addition, all horses entering Canada from the United States must be accompanied by official US documents certifying that they have not been in New Mexico within the previous 21 days."
If you are taking horses into Canada, please contact the CFIA (1-800-442-2342 or www.inspection.gc.ca) for additional information on these requirements.
Agriculture officials in Colorado also advised livestock owners to control flies in order to minimize transmission of the disease and to be cautious with feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds.
If you anticipate transporting your horse across state lines the AHC recommends you contact each respective state veterinarian's office prior to departure to determine if there are any restrictions or additional entry requirements due to the current VSV incident. In the interim, the AHC stresses the importance of responsible ownership practices and informed communication among industry organizations.
The following USDA link provides updated information on country requirements along with contact information should you have export-related questions: www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_exports.shtml.
Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine and occasionally sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. The etiologic agent, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), is a rhabdovirus. There are two serotypes of VSV, New Jersey and Indiana. Infection with one serotype is not cross-protective for the second serotype. Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is rare.
Vesicular stomatitis is recognized internationally as a reportable disease. What this means is that there are serious economic and regulatory repercussions associated with the diagnosis. When the disease is detected in the United States, other countries may take action regarding the entry of U.S. animals, as Canada has done. Interstate movement of animals is also impacted. Premises containing affected animals are quarantined until 21 days after the lesions in the last affected animals have healed. As a result, quarantine periods can be lengthy.
If you have any questions please contact the AHC.