Anthrax has been confirmed in the death of a dozen cattle in South Dakota. Eight cows died suddenly last week in a herd of 87 in Clark County, and four adult cattle died in a herd in Bon Homme County.
State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven says neither of the two herds were vaccinated against anthrax. Anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated alkaline soils and nearly all areas of South Dakota.
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 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 across the state should consult their veterinarians and vaccinate livestock, if deemed appropriate.