Revised:  05/22/2008

Memo for August 18, 2006













New Jersey Department of Agriculture



To: Veterinarians

From: Nancy E. Halpern, D.V.M., State Veterinarian

Date: August 18, 2006

Re: Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in Wyoming




     On August 17, 2006, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed vesicular stomatitis in a 10-year old horse on a premise in Natrona County, Wyoming. This is the first confirmed case of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in the United States in 2006; the last case of VS was confirmed in late 2005.


     VS is a viral disease that primarily affects horses, cattle, and swine. The viruses that cause VS have a wide host range. VS also occasionally affects sheep and goats. In affected livestock, VS causes blister-like lesions to form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals generally refuse to eat and drink, and show signs of lameness. Weight loss usually follows, and in dairy cows, a drop in milk production commonly occurs. Affected livestock may appear to be clinically normal and continue to eat, but may consume only about half of their normal quantity of feed.


     The clinically ill horse was positive for antibodies to vesicular stomatitis New Jersey (VS-NJ) virus on the competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) and was also positive on virus isolation for VS-NJ virus. The VS compatible clinical signs and presence of VS-NJ virus meet the definition to classify this horse as the index case for the Nation in 2006. There are an additional 29 clinically normal horses and 25 clinically normal cattle also on the premises.


     A private veterinary practitioner initially examined the affected horse as part of a routine physical exam on August 12, 2006. The next day, the owner of the horse noticed that the horse had a swollen muzzle and contacted the veterinarian who came back to the premises to re-examine the animal on August 14. During the re-examination, the practitioner noticed that the horse had oral lesions that were consistent with a vesicular condition and immediately contacted APHIS, Veterinary Services in Wyoming. A foreign animal disease investigation was initiated that same day; appropriate samples were collected and submitted to NVSL. There is no history of recent movement of this horse from the premise; however, the owners did report a large burden of Culicoides and large numbers of biting flies in the vicinity.


     The affected premise is currently under State quarantine. Additional control measures include isolating the horse from the rest of the animals to ensure that water troughs and feed buckets are not being shared with other susceptible animals, and increasing insect control measures.


     The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is beginning a public and veterinary practitioner information and education campaign regarding VS. APHIS Veterinary Services and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture will continue to monitor the situation and conduct response activities in an effort to minimize trade restrictions.


     For additional information on vesicular stomatitis please refer to the following APHIS Web page:


New Jersey Import Regulations regarding Vesicular Stomatitis


     All livestock (including horses), and wild and exotic animals, to be imported from states which have been identified as being affected with the contagious viral disease known as vesicular stomatitis must first obtain a permit for entry by telephone at (609) 292-3965 or by fax at (609) 777-8395 (weekdays, 8:45am to 4:45pm, eastern time).


     Permits will be granted only for those animals that are accompanied by an approved Certificate of Veterinary Inspection which includes a statement that:


  1. The animals have been examined and found free of evidence of vesicular stomatits;
  2. During the 30 days prior to shipment, the animals have not been within 10 miles of any premise on which vesicular stomatitis has been diagnosed within 60 days;
  3. The animals have not been exposed to any animal which has been vaccinated with vesicular stomatits vaccine, of any kind, within the last 30 days; and
  4. The animals must have a negative test (CELISA, CF, SN) for vesicular stomatitis performed by an approved laboratory within 10 days of shipment.

     Animals imported into New Jersey under such a permit shall be automatically quarantined for 14 days, and shall be isolated from other livestock until the quarantine expires or the State Veterinarian or his/her representative releases the animals.


     If you observe livestock with suspicious clinical signs contact the New Jersey Division of Animal Health at (609) 292-3965 or USDA, APHIS, VS at (609) 259-8387. As a biosecurity measure, rubber or latex gloves should be used when handling potentially infected animals. Humans reportedly may contract VS and develop flu-like symptoms that can last four to seven days. Please call if you have any questions or concerns.






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