EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Six cases of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus that affects livestock have been confirmed in New Mexico, along with 4 cases being confirmed in Texas.
It has been 10 years since the last out break out of the virus, officials said.
It affects horses, cattle, swine and can occasionally affect sheep and goats. It causes blisters in the mouth and nostrils of the animals. Making it difficult for them to eat and drink, causing severe weight loss.
It can be passed from animal to animal or carried by insects. People can even carry the virus and pass it to animals. However, humans contracting the virus is rare.
“There’s been a few cases of people getting it, it’s pretty rare it’s unusual and it’s generally somebody who’s compromised,” said Ralph Zimmerman the New Mexico State Veterinarian.
The New Mexico State Fair is this coming September which is raising concerns that the virus may affect the fair. The state veterinarian says it’s not affecting it yet but special precautions need to be taken.
“I don’t want to see the kids penalized and it’s not so severe at this point that I think anyone needs to cancel a show or a fair,” said Zimmerman.
New Mexico is already being cautious 4-H horse shows in the state have been canceled for the remainder of the year for a variety of reasons, including keeping the virus from spreading. Borderland horse owners are agreeing with the decision.
“We try and limit the movement of outside horses on and off our property and our horses going to different places simply because you don’t know where it’s going to pop up,” said Hugh Trotter a Rancher in Anthony, NM and you don’t know where other peoples horses have been so its better if we just stay home.”
The last time the virus hit 10 years ago, it traveled from the Borderland all the way Montana. Currently, there have been cases reported in Colorado.
Officials from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture are asking everyone to be cautious, use lost of bug spray on animals and if you have to travel, make sure to speak with your veterinarian first.