An­thrax found in sheep

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

A case of an­thrax was iden­ti­fied on a prop­erty at Swan Hill on No­vem­ber 17.

Vic­to­ria’s chief ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer Charles Milne said the af­fected prop­erty was quar­an­tined and ap­pro­pri­ate biose­cu­rity pro­tec­tions were in place.

‘‘On Satur­day (No­vem­ber 17), the farmer re­ported a num­ber of sheep deaths . . . we did some test­ing and con­firmed that it was an­thrax,’’ Dr Milne said.

An­thrax is caused by a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring bac­te­ria, Bacil­lus an­thracis, which ex­ists in soil in parts of north­ern Vic­to­ria.

Dr Milne said the most com­mon cases in north­ern Vic­to­ria were in cat­tle in the Goul­burn Val­ley, but with sev­eral cases now iden­ti­fied in Swan Hill sheep, he said farm­ers needed to be on the look­out.

‘‘We are urg­ing lo­cal farm­ers to con­tinue to be vig­i­lant and re­port any symp­toms in live­stock that may be re­lated to an­thrax.’’

Dr Milne said all sheep on the af­fected prop­erty had now been vac­ci­nated and ap­pro­pri­ate dis­pos­als were tak­ing place.

‘‘The cur­rent ev­i­dence sug­gests that only one prop­erty has been af­fected.’’

He said it was not un­usual for in­ci­dents of an­thrax to be de­tected in cat­tle and sheep in the re­gion, with sev­eral farms in the Swan Hill area af­fected in March 2017 and a prop­erty in March this year.

‘‘In­ci­dents tend to oc­cur dur­ing the warmer months when it’s drier and live­stock for­age deeper into the soil when eat­ing grass.

‘‘It can oc­cur in any part of Vic­to­ria and any live­stock species and at any time (can be af­fected).

‘‘We are well pre­pared to han­dle th­ese in­ci­dents and we are cur­rently con­tact­ing lo­cal farm­ers and vet­eri­nar­i­ans.’’

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria will con­tinue to work with nearby farm­ers, vet­eri­nar­i­ans and the lo­cal com­mu­nity to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion.

An­thrax is not a con­cern for the pub­lic.

■ Farm­ers are urged to re­port any cases of un­ex­plained live­stock death to the 24-hour Emer­gency An­i­mal Dis­ease Watch Hot­line on 1800 675 888, their lo­cal vet or to Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria an­i­mal health staff.

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