For immediate release: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Contact: Bethany Hahn, Communications Specialist, 651-201-6830
Anthrax Vaccination Important for Grazing Livestock
Warmer temperatures in March may mean earlier risk of anthrax
St. Paul, Minn - Livestock grazing on pastures in northwestern Minnesota are at an increased risk of anthrax. Vaccination is an inexpensive way to prevent the disease and keep your animals healthy.
"Cattle grazing in pastures in northwest Minnesota have been affected by anthrax in past years", said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. "Because the disease is so unpredictable, vaccination is a low-cost way to make sure your livestock are not affected."
Anthrax is a naturally occurring disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis.The bacteria can lie dormant in the soil for years. However, heavy rains and flooding can bring the spores to the surface, where they may be ingested by grazing animals. Warming temperatures earlier this year may allow farmers to pasture livestock sooner, putting animals at an increased risk of exposure.
Livestock infected with anthrax die quickly, often exhibiting no symptoms until just before death. In addition, any unexpected death in a grazing herd should be considered anthrax-related until the disease can be ruled out. Suspect carcasses should not be cut open, as it could cause anthrax to spread. If you suspect anthrax, contact your veterinarian immediately.
The risk of humans developing anthrax from naturally occurring bacteria is extremely low. Minnesota has recorded no human cases of anthrax since 1953.
For more information visit the Board's anthrax page.