Kansas dealing with Vesicular Stomatitis Virus outbreak

South central Kansas is fighting an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis among horses and cattle.

Officials have confirmed 48 positive cases in multiple counties. While the virus is typically non-fatal, infected animals should be quarantined for two weeks to prevent the spread. VSV also presents similar symptoms as hoof and mouth disease, requiring a quick response from officials to rule out the highly contagious disease.

Dr. Justin Smith, with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, says that the virus can be spread within the herd or by insects.

“We have a group of insects-- flies. Particularly, three versions of them, sand fly, the black fly, and what we call midges, that have the ability to biologically reproduce this virus and infect from animal to animal,” he said. “So, we feel like we probably got a hatch of these animals, these flies, that were infected and that’s why we are seeing such a prevalent spread over the area so rapidly.”