Anthrax found in sheep
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.