Canada lifts state restrictions over vesicular stomatiis

Mouth blisters in a horse with vesicular stomatitis.
Mouth blisters in a horse with vesicular stomatitis.

Canada has ended restrictions on horses entering the country from New Mexico, imposed as a result of an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the restrictions had been lifted as the outbreak had been resolved.

The viral disease was detected in two New Mexico horses on April 20. These cases were the first confirmed diagnosis of active vesicular stomatitis in the United States since 2010. Additional diagnoses were made in Colorado in October.

Following the initial detection, the agency imposed import and export restrictions on horses entering Canada from New Mexico, and the return of Canadian horses who were in New Mexico at the time of the outbreak, or thereafter.
Similar restrictions were later enforced over Colorado, but were lifted in October 2012 once the outbreak was resolved.

“Now that the outbreak in New Mexico has also been resolved, there are currently no vesicular stomatitis-related import restrictions concerning Canada and the US,” the agency said.

The last recorded case of disease in Canada was in 1949.

The symptoms include blister-like lesions on the inside of the mouth, nose, and hooves, as well as flu-like symptoms and anorexia.

The disease primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine, and occasionally goats and sheep. Humans are also vulnerable to the disease, and can become infected through contact with affected animals.

The conditions which allow it to spread are not fully known. However, the primary forms of contraction are thought to be insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals. Animals generally recover within two weeks.
Once the disease is present within a herd, it moves from animal to animal through direct physical contact, or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions or through indirect contact.

Historically, outbreaks tend to occur in the southwestern US during warm seasons, and are especially likely in places close to river ways. Outbreaks can be sporadic and unpredictable.

The only way to distinguish the disease from other diseases with similar symptoms, including foot-and-mouth disease, in livestock other than horses is through laboratory testing.


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