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Published July 18, 2013, 03:36 PM

Anthrax confirmed in SD for first time

Anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the first time this year. State veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven confirmed Wednesday in a news release that a 4-month-old calf died in a small herd of unvaccinated cattle in Turner County.

By: South Dakota Animal Industry Board,

PIERRE — Anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the first time this year. State veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven confirmed Wednesday in a news release that a 4-month-old calf died in a small herd of unvaccinated cattle in Turner County.

A cattle producer, local veterinarian and the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory are credited with the rapid detection of the disease.

Anthrax is a serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected.

Strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses from cattle suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination with the bacterial spores.

Oedekoven said anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated soil, and much of South Dakota has the potential of experiencing an outbreak. Significant climate change, such as drought, floods and winds, can expose anthrax spores to grazing livestock. Alkaline soils, high humidity and high temperatures present conditions for anthrax spores to vegetate and become infectious to grazing livestock.

Producers across the state should consult their veterinarians and vaccinate livestock, if deemed appropriate. Oedekoven advises producers in the Turner County area to continue to vaccinate cattle and other livestock for the next several years.

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