Anthrax confirmed again

News release from the state Ag Department:

Confirmation of anthrax in another North Dakota county has prompted state animal health officials to again urge livestock producers, especially in areas with a history of anthrax, to have their animals vaccinated for the disease.

“A single case of anthrax has just been confirmed in south central Barnes County, where the disease has been reported in the past,” Beth Carlson, the deputy state veterinarian, said in a statement. “We now have anthrax reports from three different counties. Producers should make every effort to make sure their livestock are up to date on vaccinations.”

Neil Dyer, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Dakota State University, confirmed the diagnosis of anthrax in a beef cow. It is the third case of anthrax recorded in the state this year. Earlier, cases were recorded in Sioux and Dickey counties.

An effective anthrax vaccine is readily available, but it takes about a week to establish immunity and must be followed with annual boosters.

Carlson asked producers to monitor their herds for unexpected deaths and report them to their veterinarians.

Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south central North Dakota, but it has been suspected in almost every part of the state. The state usually records a few anthrax cases every year, but in 2005, the disease killed an estimated 1,000 head of cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.

“Thanks to the work of veterinarians and extension agents in encouraging producers to vaccinate their animals, livestock deaths were significantly fewer following year,” Carlson said in a statement. “The same awareness is needed now to prevent another major outbreak.”