North Dakota Logs First Anthrax Cases of 2006

(edited press release)

Two head of cattle have died of anthrax, the first cases of the disease reported in North Dakota this year. "This is a warning for North Dakota producers to talk with their veterinarians about having their animals vaccinated," said Susan Keller, DVM, N.D. state veterinarian. "This is especially true for producers in areas of the state that have recorded anthrax in the past."

The cattle came from a herd in Emmons County, southwest of Linton.

Keller said Sheldon Malmedal, DVM, of Linton examined the animals and forwarded tissues to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Dakota State University, which used a polymerase chain reaction test to confirm the diagnosis of anthrax on June 21.

Keller said anthrax usually appears in very wet or very dry conditions, when soil is disturbed, causing dormant spores of the bacteria Bacillus anthracis to become vegetative. Livestock ingest B. anthracis when they forage close to the ground or eat feed grown on infected soil. Horses seem to be more resistant to anthrax than other livestock species.

Horse and other livestock owners should ask their vets about vaccinating against anthrax. "Several different anthrax vaccines are effective and readily available," Keller said. "It usually takes about a week for immunity to be established."

Last year, anthrax cases were confirmed in Barnes, Cass, Cavalier, Dickey, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, McIntosh, Nelson, Ransom, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman, Traill, and Walsh counties. More than 500 animals, including cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas, and farmed deer and elk died from the disease.
Just last week, six head of cattle in Kittson County, Minnesota, died from anthrax.

Anthrax is a reportable disease in North Dakota. Affected premises are quarantined for 30 days after susceptible livestock are vaccinated. Owners must burn infected carcasses within 36 hours. Keller said producers who find dead livestock should first consult their veterinarians before disposing of the carcasses.
For more information, read "Anthrax: Clarifying the Cloudy,"

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