Anthrax confirmed in death of Colorado cattle


Affected animals quarantined; people exposed to infection being monitored, treated.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) says one deceased cow confirmed with Anthrax may explain the cause of death of 50 more cattle in Logan County, Colo. According to the CDA, one location has tested positive and adjacent ranchers have been notified. A spokesperson says no cattle left the location prior to quarantine and no cattle entered the food chain.

State veterinarian Keith Roehr, DVM, said in a release that the risk of infection is minimal outside the affected ranch. “We believe, at this point, that anthrax is confined to that specific premises," Roehr says. "Colorado has not had an anthrax case in 31 years, but anthrax outbreaks are not uncommon in the Western United States.”

The CDA and Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) aim to limit exposure - especially to humans - with the quarantine and continued monitoring and treatment of animals, equipment, and people who may have been exposed. Neither organization anticipates a health threat to the residents of northeast Colorado in regards to anthrax. "However, knowing how rare the presence of anthrax is in Colorado, we realize that people may have questions and concerns and we hope we can be a resource to answer those concerns," NCHD district public health administrator Tony Cappello, PhD, RS, said in a release.

According to the NCHD, anthrax is a serious disease caused by bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that forms spores and can develop naturally in soil. Those spores can become active in association with periods of marked climatic or ecologic change such as drought which most of the country has experienced throughout the summer. It is transmitted through direct contact with the bacteria, through ingestion, or by breathing in the spores.

An investigation with the livestock owner is ongoing.

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