“Cases in the designated triangular area of Texas are not unexpected when favorable conditions arise,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC State Veterinarian and Executive Director. “It is highly encouraged that producers in anthrax prone areas utilize the effective anthrax vaccine prior to disease exposure or infection.”
An increase in anthrax cases after periods of wet, cool weather, followed by hot, dry conditions is common. In these conditions, animals ingest the odorless, colorless, and tasteless anthrax bacteria when they consume contaminated grass and hay or by inhaling the spores. Outbreaks usually end when cooler weather arrives.
After exposure to anthrax, animals typically show clinical signs within three to seven days. Once clinical signs appear, death usually occurs within 48 hours. Acute fever followed by rapid death with bloody discharge from body openings are signs of anthrax in livestock. If a noticeable amount of deer or exotic wildlife are found dead, and carcasses show bleeding characteristic of anthrax, remove livestock from access to carcasses immediately. Owners of livestock and animals displaying clinical signs consistent with anthrax or experiencing death of animals should contact a private veterinary practitioner or a TAHC official
Producers are encouraged to follow basic sanitation precautions when handling affected livestock or carcasses. The TAHC encourages wearing protective gloves and long sleeve shirts and washing thoroughly afterward to prevent accidental spread of the bacteria to people. For more information on how anthrax affects humans please visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/IDCU/disease/anthrax/Information.aspx
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The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) was established in 1893 as the Livestock Sanitary Commission and charged with protecting the state’s domestic animals “from all contagious or infectious diseases of a malignant character.” TAHC remains true to this charge while evolving with the times to protect the health and marketability of all Texas livestock and poultry. Learn more about the TAHC visit www.tahc.texas.gov