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Anthrax Epizootic


Anthrax occurs worldwide, and a few anthrax cases are reported among livestock in North Dakota almost every year. The organism exists in the soil as a spore. Animals, domestic or wild, become infected by grazing on contaminated land or eating contaminated feed.

Anthrax in humans is associated with exposure to infected animals or contaminated animal products. The illness can manifest itself in various forms, including on the skin. Symptoms can present as quickly as two days or as slowly as two months.

The year 2000 was worst than most for anthrax in North Dakota. Until then, the state had quarantined an average of two farms a year, but in 2000, 32 farms had to be quarantined. It was declared an epizootic, or epidemic for animals. From July 6th to September 24th, 157 animals died of anthrax on 31 farms. 62 people worked with the infected animals, but only one person showed any sign of contracting the disease. On this date, a 67-year-old North Dakotan who helped dispose of five diseased cows noticed a small bump on his left cheek. The lesion enlarged over the next two days, so he sought medical help. He showed no serious symptoms such as fever or malaise, but the bump surrounded by a purple ring was a signifying feature of skin anthrax. Luckily, it was easily treatable with antibiotics and the condition cleared up within two weeks.

Anthrax in people remains rare, but persists as a concern for livestock producers. In 2005, more than 500 confirmed livestock deaths were reported in North Dakota with total losses estimated at more than 1,000. The dead animals included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.

And in 2016, the North Dakota state veterinarian issued a warning to vaccinate livestock, because the conditions were good for an anthrax outbreak.

Datebook written by Lucid Thomas


"https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5032a1.htm" https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5032a1.htm

"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrax" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrax

"https://www.nd.gov/ndda/news/conditions-right-anthrax-livestock" https://www.nd.gov/ndda/news/conditions-right-anthrax-livestock