Tennessee vet warns of livestock illness hitting Midwest

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Cattle are seen at sunset as record breaking heat moves across the country Monday, June 26, 2012 in Bradfordton, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s state veterinarian is advising livestock owners to look out for signs of a disease that has affected horses, cattle and other animals in several Midwest states.

State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty said in a news release that vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, has not yet entered Tennessee, but it has sickened livestock in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Officials say VSV primarily affects horses and cattle, but it can also sicken sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, and alpacas. The disease is typically transmitted by biting insects and causes blister-like lesions on the skin.

Humans can contract VSV by coming into contact with lesions, saliva, or nasal secretions from infected animals. In humans, the disease causes an flu-like illness with fever, muscle aches, and headache, officials said.

Livestock owners should contact a veterinarian if they spot lesions on their animals. People bringing livestock into Tennessee should call the state veterinarian’s office for inspection requirements.

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