Update 8/10: There are now 11 cases of anthrax in Grant County beef cattle.
BISMARCK – Four cases of anthrax have now been found in Grant County beef cattle. The cases were all confirmed by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
“The cases are a reminder to livestock producers to take action to protect their animals from the disease, especially in areas with a past history of the disease,” State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress said. “With the weather patterns we’ve had this year, conditions are right for the disease to occur and it’s likely we’ll have more cases.”
Effective anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually for continued protection. Producers should monitor their herds for unexplained deaths and work with their veterinarian to ensure appropriate samples are collected and submitted to a diagnostic lab to give the best chance of obtaining a diagnosis.
“Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south-central North Dakota, but it has been found in almost every part of the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “While typically only a few anthrax cases are reported in North Dakota every year, it can cause devastating losses in affected herds.”
More information about anthrax and a map of past cases are available on North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at www.ndda.nd.gov/diseases/anthrax.
Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. The bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions, such as heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.