Bismarck, N.D. -- Anthrax is reported in North Dakota for the first time this year, in a county that hasn?t seen a case of the disease in nine years.
-- Anthrax is reported in North Dakota for the first time this year, in a county that hasn’t seen a case of the disease for nine years.
In announcing the case, which occurred on the Hettinger-Slope county line, state veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller urged farmers to remember to vaccinate livestock, expressing concern that success against the disease in recent years may lead some livestock producers to cut the anthrax vaccine from their normal schedules.
Veterinarians should remind their farm clients that anthrax should be included in their yearly vaccinations, she says.
The bacteria, which can lie dormant for decades as spores, return when animals kick up soil that contains the spores and eat newly sprouted and contaminated green shoots. It’s typically a problem after wet weather is followed by drought.
“People say the weather conditions have to be just right for anthrax -- extremely wet, then extremely dry,” Keller says. “But we can easily get that here.”
After an anthrax outbreak in other North Dakota locations in 2005, Keller and faculty members at North Dakota State University reminded producers to vaccinate for anthrax, leading to a drop in cases ever since. There were six confirmed sites with anthrax in 2006, one in 2007 and two in 2008, all attributed to failures to vaccinate.