NDSU Extension - Morton County


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August 19, 2019 Anthrax: What to Know

Renae Gress, Extension Agent/Agriculture and Natural Resources

Dates to Remember:
September 7-Parents Forever-Mandan


Anthrax: What to Know

How many cases of Anthrax have been reported in North Dakota in the last 19 years?

  1. 26
  2. 85
  3. 109
  4. 158

If you chose D, you are correct. Since 2000, there have been 158 cases of Anthrax reported in North Dakota. Anthrax is caused by the spores of the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. These spores are resistant to heat, cold, chemical disinfectants and drying. They may live up to five years in surface soil and indefinitely in deeper soils, depending on the soil type. Animals contract anthrax by ingesting or inhaling the spores. Cattle and sheep are more susceptible to anthrax then horses, swine or humans.

Anthrax symptoms depend on the species involved and route of infection. If the spores enter the animal’s body through the mouth or nose, the symptoms occur soon after infection and death rapidly follows. If the infection takes place through the skin from injury or bites, it is localized at the site on injury. The affected area becomes hot and swollen and later becomes cold and insensitive, the infection then becomes generalized. Animal anthrax is usually fatal with no observed symptoms.  

If livestock owners suspect anthrax, contact your local veterinarian as they will need to confirm it though a laboratory examination. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at NDSU has anthrax specimen collection kits available for veterinarians to safely submit samples. Be sure to not move the carcass as anthrax is a public health risk to people. To find more information on anthrax, go to https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/livestock/anthrax.

For more information, contact Renae Gress at 667-3340 or email renae.gress@ndsu.edu.

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