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Update on Vesicular Stomatitis in Montana

October 18, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

As of October 14, a total of 44 premises in Montana had so far been affected by vesicular stomatitis, with 38 of those having been released from quarantine. Six premises remained under quarantine while 4 of those were on the 21-day countdown for quarantine release. The three counties of Big Horn, Carbon and Yellowstone still had premises under quarantine as of mid-October. Rosebud and Stillwater counties were also affected but currently have no cases under quarantine.

On August 10, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding of vesicular stomatitis in horses on a premise in Yellowstone County, Montana. Animals are quarantined on premises where the virus is discovered for 21 days after all lesions heal in affected animals.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease characterized by fever, vesicles, and subsequent blisters. The vesicles form on the mouth, tongue, lips, feet, teats, and mammary glands of affective animals. These vesicles or blisters tend to be large and very painful.

The virus affects a wide range of hosts. It primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine. This disease occasionally affects sheep and goats. Many species of wild animals, including deer, bobcats, goats, raccoons, and monkeys, have been affected. Humans can also become infected with vesicular stomatitis when handling affected animals.

A total of 142 animals have tested positive for the virus this year in Montana, with 114 of those being equine. Not all positive tested animals may have shown clinical signs of the virus.

On October 4, Scotts Bluff County in Nebraska had confirmed cases in both cattle and horses. These were the first confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis in Nebraska this year. Bear Lake County, Idaho had its first confirmed case this year reported on September 26.

The majority of cases have so far appeared in southeastern Montana and more widely spread in Wyoming.

Outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis usually, but not always, end with the first freezes of autumn.