Anthrax is a naturally occurring disease that can have devastating affects on cattle, sheep, goats, horses and bison. The spores that cause the disease are known to exist in the soil across the Canadian prairies. They generally surface during the summer months, when heavy rainfall and flooding is followed by hot, dry temperatures.
“Given the recent and predicted climatic conditions, the risk of anthrax is poised to elevate this summer,” says Dr. Brian Evans, Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada, “we encourage all livestock producers in the prairies to speak to their veterinarian about having their animals vaccinated, especially if their herd is in an area where anthrax has been found before.”
While vaccinating livestock is the best protection against anthrax, producers should also
- avoid giving hay that was cut close to the soil or feed that had contact with soil to non-vaccinated animals
- thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and footwear that may have had contact with contaminated soil
- wash clothes worn when tending to sick animals separately from the rest of the household laundry.
For more information on anthrax and Canada’s disease control measures, producers should call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 or visit www.inspection.gc.ca.
Anthrax is an acute, highly fatal disease, caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. The disease occurs sporadically and can affect all mammals including humans. Animals generally acquire the disease from a contaminated environment. Humans usually acquire this disease directly from infected animals or via occupational exposure to contaminated animal products.
In Canada, anthrax is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations, and all cases must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Media enquiries: CFIA Media Relations, 613-773-6600