Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has announced restrictions on the importation of animals from states affected with vesicular stomatitis following a confirmed case in Texas, the first such case reported in the United States since 2006.
Vesicular Stomatitis is a highly contagious, viral disease that affects horses, cattle, swine and occasionally sheep, goats and deer. The virus can also cause flu-like symptoms in people working with infected animals. Signs of vesicular stomatitis include blister-like lesions in the mouth, on the tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. While the virus is rarely fatal, it does result in significant weight loss and milk production loss.
It is also difficult to distinguish between this virus and foot-and-mouth disease, a devastating livestock disease found outside the United States. States and other countries often impose movement restrictions on animals from vesicular stomatitis-affected areas.
The United States Department of Agriculture, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, have confirmed the finding of a positive horse, with clinical signs on a ranch in Starr County, Texas.
Florida requires veterinary inspection of susceptible animals coming from states affected with vesicular stomatitis. Hoofed animals entering Florida from Texas will require prior permission for entry and must be accompanied by an official certificate of veterinary inspection. The certificate of veterinary inspection must state that the animals are free of clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis and have not been exposed nor located within 10 miles of a positive premises, within the previous 30 days. In addition, any hoofed livestock from states that are affected with vesicular stomatitis are required to have documentation to show they have been tested and found negative within 10 days of movement to Florida.