Spread of VSV plaguing Kansas livestock, veterinarians say

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:20 AM CDT
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HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - A virus that primarily affects horses and cattle has been confirmed in Harvey County, adding to the spread that Wichita area veterinarians say is unlike anything they’ve seen before.

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which has been found in 26 counties primarily in south-central Kansas, is characterized in horses by lesions on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands or ventral abdomen.

It can also cause a fever and make infected animals not want to eat or drink, leading to weight loss.

Other animals that can be infected by the virus include sheep, goats, swine, llamas, and alpacas. Wichita area veterinarians say it’s plaguing Kansas livestock.

“This outbreak is still very active in Kansas, and we encourage all owners of horses and other livestock to continue to be vigilant,” Dr. Justin Smith, Animal Health Commissioner said in a news release.

The virus is primarily spread from biting insects such as black flies, sand flies, and midges.

“The most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to take aggressive steps to limit exposure to insects that are the primary source of infection,” Smith said.

There are no approved vaccines for the virus and can take five to seven days to “run its course” and can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from its symptoms.

Kansas is one of six states to have confirmed VSV cases and veterinarians in the

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