Vesicular stomatitis virus

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infects domestic animals such as horses, cattle and pigs as well as wild animals like deer and small mammals in the tropics. The virus can also infect humans, causing a flu-like illness. VSV belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae, genus Vesiculovirus and is split into two serogroups: New Jersey (NJ) and Indiana (IND). There are three subtypes of the IND serogroup: IND-1 (classical IND) IND-2 (cocal virus) and IND-3 (alagoas virus). The virus is enveloped, containing a capsid and single stranded RNA genome.

  • Vesicular stomatitis is a notifiable disease and should be reported.
    Please see the Defra website for advice on how to spot and report the disease.

Associated diseases:

VSV causes vesicular stomatitis disease (VSD) which is of particular importance to farmers as the clinical signs presented in cattle are identical to those of foot-and-mouth disease.

Clinical signs:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Vesicles of various sizes in and around the mouth/snout
  • Foot lesions (and lameness in pigs)
  • Teat lesions occur in dairy herds

Morbidity rates can be up to 90 %; mortality is rare, although higher mortality has been observed with NJ strains in swine.

Disease transmission:

VSV is known to be transmitted through direct contact with infected mucus and skin. It may also be transmitted via insects such as sand flies, black flies and mosquitoes.

Disease prevalence:

VSD is usually limited to the Americas, but it has also been previously described in France and South Africa. There is seasonal variation in the spread of VSD, as at the end of the rainy season (tropical areas) and at first frost (temperate) the disease dies back.


* Image by Dr. Fred. A. Murphy courtesy of Public Health Image Library (PHIL)

Research papers

Fowler V L, Howson E L A, Madi M, Mioulet V, Caiusi C, Pauszek S J, Rodriguez L L, King D P (2016)

Journal of Virological Methods 234, 123-131
Publisher’s version:
Fowler V L, King D J, Howson E L A, Madi M, Pauszek S J, Rodriguez L L, Knowles N J, Mioulet V, King D P (2016)

Genome Announcements 4 (2),
Lung O, Furukawa-Stoffer T, Burton Hughes K, Pasick J, King D P, Hodko D (2016)

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases early view,
Ferris N P, Clavijo A, Yang M, Velazquez-Salinas L, Nordengrahn A, Hutchings G H, Kristersson T, Merza M (2012)

Journal of Virological Methods 180 (1-2), 96-100
Ferris N P, Nordengrahn A, Hutchings G H, Paton D J, Kristersson T, Merza M (2010)

Journal of Virological Methods 163 (2), 477-480

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