Posted August 15, 2005
South Dakota, North Dakota, and Texas issued anthrax alerts in July, asking livestock producers in affected counties to consult their veterinarians as to whether their livestock should be vaccinated against the disease.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board reported that a group of nearly 300 unvaccinated buffalo and rodeo bulls were exposed to Bacillus anthracis at a pasture in Sully County, located near the state's center.
Dr. Sam D. Holland, South Dakota's state veterinarian, said nearly 40 buffalo and rodeo bulls were found dead from the disease. The remainder of the herd were to be treated with antimicrobials, vaccinated, and the carcasses properly disposed of under the board's supervision.
In North Dakota, anthrax was detected at more than 20 ranges in the southeast counties of Barnes, Dickey, LaMoure, and Ransom. According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, most confirmed cases involved cattle, with some cases in horses, bison, and farmed elk.
All herds with infected animals were quarantined and were to receive vaccinations, said Dr. Susan Keller, North Dakota's state veterinarian.
"Anthrax is reported almost every year in North Dakota, usually in years with heavy amounts of rainfall," Dr. Keller said.
In Texas, two ranches in southwest Sutton County reported cases of anthrax in horses, deer, and cattle. The disease has not been confirmed in Sutton County for more than 20 years, reported the Texas Animal Health Commission.
Anthrax is underreported because many ranchers in the area automatically dispose of carcasses and vaccinate livestock when they find dead animals that show common signs of the disease, said Dr. Thurman Fancher, director for Area 6 (West Texas) of the TAHC. "Anthrax is a reportable disease, however, and it's important to know when an outbreak occurs so other ranchers can be notified to vaccinate."