Confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis in Grant County, N.M., and Maricopa County, Ariz., have prompted the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) to issue an importation order to help prevent the spread of the disease into Nebraska. The importation order took effect on May 10, 2005.

"Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska's animals is of the utmost importance in the state," said Dr. Dennis Hughes, state veterinarian. "Vesicular stomatitis resembles Foot-and-Mouth Disease in the early stages, and I ask that all producers continue to be vigilant in importing animals into Nebraska."

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease characterized by fever and the formation of vesicles (blisters) in the mouth, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation, nasal discharge and anorexia. In three to four days, the animal will recover. Vesicular stomatitis primarily affects horses, cattle, and swine and occasionally affects sheep and goats.

The order is in addition to the requirements found in the current Animal Importation Regulations (Title 23 NAC, Chapter 2). The NDA Order states:

--All imports of: Equine (including horses, donkeys, mules, etc.), bovine (including cattle, bison, etc.), sheep, goats, swine, cervidae (including elk, deer, etc.) and camilids (including camels, llama, alpaca, etc.) from any state which has had a confirmed vesicular stomatitis positive animal, shall obtain a pre-entry permit prior to import into Nebraska, and this permit number shall be listed on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI); and

--The following statement shall be written on the CVI by the issuing veterinarian: "The animals represented on this CVI have not originated from a premises or area under quarantine for vesicular stomatitis or a premises on which vesicular stomatitis has been diagnosed in the last 30 days. I have examined the animals and found no signs of vesicular stomatitis."

Those with questions in regard to the importation order should contact NDA's Bureau of Animal Industry by calling 800-572-2437.

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