Vesicular Stomatitis Virus, or VSV, is spreading in Kansas.


The Hutchinson News’ Alice Mannette reported Aug. 1 that VSV is a viral disease, which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. The majority of the cases in Kansas are in equine.


Mannette reported the disease is transmitted by biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. It causes painful lesions, which appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands or ventral abdomen.


It’s been confirmed in Kansas since mid-June.


The disease must be reported to officials.


To those whose animals are currently battling VSV our thoughts are with you. May they get the treatment they need and recover quickly.


If you have an animal exhibiting these symptoms, please report it as soon as possible. Not only is it the humane thing to do for the animal, it’s the right thing to do to help control this epidemic.


According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, slightly less than 100 premises have horses and cattle that have tested positive for the virus. More than 50 premises are under quarantine and 157 were released from quarantine. The KDA also notes that although humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, resulting in flu-like symptoms, this is a rare event. While it may be possible, it's not likely.


According to The News, VSV is present in 24 Kansas counties. Let’s do our part to prevent this epidemic from spreading. The KDA strongly encourages insect management to prevent the spreading of the disease. Most county Extension agents will be able to offer tips on how best to implement insect management for your situation.


There are no approved vaccines for VSV. However, the good news is the virus typically runs its course in five to seven days, though it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms.


So here’s the deal, we don’t want to sound alarmist about this virus, but we need to take it seriously. We can’t afford to have another virus cause more problems for Kansas farmers and ranchers.