Officials say anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the first time year this year.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven has confirmed that eight cows died out of a herd of 87 unvaccinated cattle in Clark County.

The Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University confirmed the disease from samples submitted over the weekend.

Anthrax can cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a short time. Infected livestock often are found dead with no illness detected.

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board says anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated soil. The board says strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination from bacterial spores.

Producers should consult with their veterinarians to make sure the vaccination schedule for their animals is up to date. Effective anthrax vaccines are readily available, but that it takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually.

There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming under cooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.

Source: Associated Press


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