Anthrax found in sheep flock near Swan Hill

NSM-ewes

Farmers are urged to report any cases of unexplained livestock deaths to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Agriculture Victoria is responding to a confirmed incident of anthrax in sheep on a single property near Swan Hill.

Anthrax is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, that is known to be present in the soil in parts of Northern Victoria.

Victorian Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Cameron Bell said quarantine notices had been put in place until the necessary biosecurity requirements, including carcase disposal and site disinfection, were completed. He said the case was on a farm which has had a history of anthrax and at-risk stock on the property are vaccinated.

“Anthrax detections in livestock occur in Victoria from time to time. They commonly occur during the warmer months when it is drier and cattle and sheep forage deeper into the soil when grazing. Quarantine controls will not affect the movement of local people or vehicles, including school bus routes.”

Local farmers, veterinarians and Agriculture Victoria are well prepared to handle these incidents. This isolated case was detected as part of ongoing surveillance for anthrax and other livestock diseases.

“We are taking the necessary steps to reduce the chance of more livestock being affected,” Dr Bell said.

Anthrax is not a concern for the public:

  • Anthrax does not spread rapidly and is not contagious.
  • There is no general public health risk associated with anthrax.
  • Any risk is confined to people who handle dead livestock such as farmers, veterinarians and knackery workers.
  • There is no impact on local produce or food safety.

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

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