Anthrax found in South Dakota cattle herd

According to the CDC inhaling these spores could infect humans as well as animals.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:43 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Anthrax has been discovered in cattle located in Ziebach County. Several cattle were found dead in an unvaccinated herd. Approximately 150 mothers and their nursing calves were found unvaccinated according to the state veterinarian, Beth Thompson.

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by bacteria spores typically found in soil.

According to the CDC inhaling these spores could infect humans as well as animals.

This is the first case found in South Dakota this year according to Thompson.

Anthrax cannot pass from animal to animal, but without proper removal of an infected carcass, bacteria can spread.

” It’s really important if farmers or ranchers find these sudden deaths out on pasture land to leave them there. Once the animal is moved, you run the risk of possibly moving some of the anthrax with the animals. So, the veterinarians will go to the animal, take the samples, and then the animal is disposed of so that no other, whether that’s wild animals or other animals, have access to that area,” Thompson said.

Thompson emphasizes ranchers and farmers should have a relationship with their veterinarians, check their livestock frequently, and vaccinate when appropriate.

“There are two vaccines that I tell everybody work really well. It’s the rabies vaccine and companion animals and it’s the anthrax vaccine in livestock. It’s an annual vaccine, but it’s something that I think farmers and ranchers need to really consider.”

Thompson said there are certain soil types that harbor spores longer, and Anthrax can be found in the soil for decades.

“Once you start moving the soil around and those spores come up to the top that we can see the cases in livestock,” Thompson said.