Anthrax confirmed in SD for first time this year
Anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the first time this year. State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven has confirmed that a herd of unvaccinated bison in Dewey County was found to be infected on July 31.
Anthrax is a serious disease of livestock because it may cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals within a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no prior illness detected.
Strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses from livestock suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination with the bacterial spores.
Dr. Oedekoven reports that anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated soil and that much of South Dakota has the potential of experiencing an outbreak. Significant climate change, such as drought, floods and winds can expose anthrax spores to grazing livestock. Alkaline soils, high humidity and high temperatures present conditions for anthrax spores to vegetate and become infectious to grazing livestock.
Producers across the state should consult their veterinarians and vaccinate livestock, if deemed appropriate. Dr. Oedekoven advises livestock producers in the Dewey County area to continue to annually vaccinate cattle and livestock for the next several years.