Anthrax occurs worldwide and is associated with sudden death of cattle and sheep. Anthrax can infect all warm-blooded animals, including humans. The bacteria that causes anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) can form spores which are resistant to heat, cold, chemical disinfectants and drying. The anthrax spore may live indefinitely in the soil of a contaminated pasture or yard. Anthrax is more commonly seen in areas after periods of extended dryness or excessive rain. People may develop cutaneous anthrax after exposure to infected animals and animal products including hides, hair, and wool and may develop a more serious form of anthrax after eating contaminated undercooked meat or by inhaling the spores during a necropsy or disposal of opened carcasses. A vaccine is available for cattle and recommended for use annually in areas of historically high infection rates or when environmental factors increase the risk of anthrax in a new area.
Call your local veterinarian for information regarding the risk in your area and vaccination recommendations.