Vesicular stomatitis discovered in Valencia County; quarantines in place

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Livestock and horses traveling out of Valencia County to public events will need a New Mexico Veterinarian Certificate of Inspection in order to attend public events.

A case of vesicular stomatitis was discovered in Valencia County two weeks ago, and there have been about 11 cases in quarantine statewide, said State Veterinarian Dave E. Fly.

"This disease is now in four counties in New Mexico," Fly said. "It can be expected to continue until the fall — as long as there's insects about."

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses and swine, and occasionally sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. Humans can also become infected when handling infected animals, but this is rare.

It's mainly insect borne, and preventative measures include spraying horses and other livestock with insecticides.

It is classified as a foreign disease that is not recognized to exist in the United States, so an outbreak has to be reported on the state, national and international levels.

"So, that results in severe restrictions on our livestock as they move to other states and internationally," Fly said. "We're a big state for events and exhibits, a lot of very prominent shows are coming around."

The New Mexico Livestock Board is working with horse and livestock event coordinators, asking them to take some precautions where there are public events to make sure no positive livestock are present, he said.

Last week, San Miguel and Socorro counties were the latest to report and quarantine suspected VS cases.

VS has a tendency to appear near waterways. The state veterinarian said counties along the Rio Grande River are considered at elevated risk.

Earlier this month, the virus was found in Valencia County where a total of nine premises remain under quarantine for suspected or confirmed cases of VS. The first confirmed case in New Mexico this year was in April in Otero County, but no additional cases have been confirmed there.

The National Junior High School Rodeo in Gallup this weekend will have a state veterinarian inspecting New Mexico horses to insure no cases are introduced to any of the 30 other states and Canada.

If an infected horse is at the show, all the livestock there will have to be quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease.

"People need to be careful, they need to police themselves," Fly said. "They need to look at their stock before they go somewhere to make sure there is no evidence of fevers, or slobbering issues are the first thing that you see, ulcers in the mouth or on the lips. Things like this."

Out-of-state horses must have a veterinarian health certificate five days prior to an event, and all New Mexico horse and livestock owners need to have health certifications if they are traveling to a public event, as well as their regular livestock inspection certifications when they leave their livestock districts.

"This is manageable if everybody cooperates," Fly said. "If we have an ill horse, we keep it at home, we practice really good insect control, and we don't expose other horses. It's quite manageable and should be minimal disruption to the shows. That's our whole goal with this thing."

All livestock traveling in New Mexico must have in possession a brand inspection or 1-H. The livestock board is increasing road stops.

Call your veterinarian if you think you have a case.

Updates on the status of vesicular stomatitis in New Mexico can be found on the New Mexico Livestock Board website at, www.nmlbonline.com in "What's Hot."


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.