Colorado Department of Agriculture warns against vesicular stomatitis misinformation
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – As Colorado’s livestock communities continue to manage a significant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) outbreak affecting 20 counties across the state, misinformation about the virus is being shared on social media channels and traditional media outlets. The initial source of the inaccurate reporting, comparing VSV to a “rabies-like” virus, was an Associated Press article that was reposted by a number of media outlets. The article has since been corrected.
“It is highly misleading to say that vesicular stomatitis virus is a rabies-like virus. Both viruses belong to the same family, Rhabdoviridae, but that classification is based on viral structure alone,” said Maggie Baldwin, Epidemiology Traceability Veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “The two diseases have no similarities in transmission, clinical signs, or outcome.”
VSV is a virus from the genus Vesiculovirus. VSV is a viral disease that causes blisters and ulcers on the mouth, feet, ears, and udder of cattle, horses, and swine, and occasionally mules, donkeys, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. The rabies virus is from the genus Lyssavirus. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals and has an extremely high case fatality rate.