Year's First Anthrax Case in North Dakota Reported

A cow in Traill County has tested positive for anthrax, the first case in North Dakota this year.

State Veterinarian Susan Keller, DVM, said Monday that the dead cow was found in a herd that had 18 animals. The herd has been quarantined and vaccinated, she said.

Anthrax usually appears in very wet or very dry conditions, when dormant bacteria spores in the soil are disturbed, Keller said. Animals that consume the spores are exposed to the disease. Ranchers who find dead livestock should consult their veterinarians before disposing of the carcasses.

"Producers, especially those in areas that have recorded anthrax in the past, should make sure their animals are vaccinated," Keller said.

Last year in North Dakota, there were four confirmed cases of cattle anthrax in four counties. In 2005, more than 500 animals in 16 North Dakota counties died from anthrax--the worst outbreak in state history.

Keller said ranchers have increased vaccinations since the record outbreak.

"Vaccines are readily available and effective," Keller said. "It usually takes about a week to establish immunity."

Read more information on anthrax.

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The Associated Press

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