Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research
Project Number: 3020-32000-019-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Oct 27, 2021
End Date: Oct 26, 2026
Objective 1: Ascertain the viral ecology and factors mediating the introduction and expansion of VSV in the U.S. Objective 1A. Identify viral genetic determinants mediating emergence of epidemic VSV in the U.S. as well as adaptation to insect and animal hosts. Objective 1B. Characterize epidemiological, biotic and abiotic factors associated with vectorial capacity, emergence, incursion, and expansion of VSV from endemic areas into the U.S. Objective 2. Develop intervention strategies to minimize the impact of VSV disease outbreaks. Objective 2A. Develop model-based early warning systems to predict future incursions of VSV from Mexico to the U.S. Objective 2B. Identify vector transmission control strategies based on our understanding of virus-vector-host interactions.
Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a vector-borne, zoonotic disease caused by the RNA virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Disease in cattle and pigs is clinically indistinguishable from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), one of the most devastating exotic diseases in the U.S. which was eradicated in 1929. For the past 100 years, incursions of VS have occurred in the U.S. at 8–10-year intervals. Viral incursions originating in endemic regions of southern Mexico start in western border states (NM, TX, AZ) and expand northward with outbreaks often covering over a million square kilometers. Recent outbreaks occurred in 2004-05, 2014-15 and 2019-20, causing thousands of cases across 12 states, and suggesting shorter intervals (5-10 y) may be the new normal. This Project Plan is proposed by two ARS Units, with complementary VSV expertise, to conduct research under two overarching objectives or goals: 1) to identify ecological and virus-vector-host factors that mediate incursion and expansion of VS in the US; and 2) to develop countermeasures including rapid assessment, early warning models and vector control strategies, to reduce the impact of VS disease to US agriculture. This project integrates molecular biology, virology, pathology, entomology, phylogeography, and ecology to better understand the viral, vector, host, and environmental drivers of VS epidemiology across its spatiotemporal domain. Our multidisciplinary approach spans from basic research to applied, and from molecular and organismal (biotic) levels to environmental (abiotic) levels. The proposed project also involves mutually beneficial collaborations with the ARS VSV-Grand Challenge project "Vesicular Stomatitis as a Model for a Predictive Disease Ecology" and three other CRIS Project Plans across three National Programs.