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Livestock have been quarantined on a western Nebraska farm following the diagnosis of a disease that can hamper an animal's ability to eat and drink.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has confirmed its first case of vesicular stomatitis since 2015 in a horse in Lincoln County.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats and swine.

The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. 

As a result of the painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccine for the disease.

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The Lincoln County farm will remain under quarantine for at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.

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To assist in helping prevent the disease from spreading, Nebraska has placed import restrictions for livestock coming in from states that have confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis, including Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected insects or midges, so the Department of Agriculture encourages people to consider treatments to reduce flies and other insects in quarters where animals are housed. The virus can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals.

Although humans can become infected when handling affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

 

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