Warning after Anthrax Outbreak in US

CANADA - The Canadian veterinary authorities have issued a warning to vets following the discovery of anthrax in North Dakota.
calendar icon 10 June 2013
clock icon 2 minute read

The North Dakota state department of agriculture is reporting its first confirmed case of Anthrax for 2013 in an unvaccinated beef cow. The cow was located in Hettinger County, in the southwest corner of the state.

Manitoba veterinarians are reminded that as of April 1, 2013, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) no longer provides field response to anthrax cases in Canada. Anthrax will remain a reportable disease, under the federal Health of Animals Act and the provincial Animal Diseases Act.

In order to effectively respond to suspect Anthrax cases, provincial chief veterinary officers across the country are working collaboratively to have a consistent approach.

In Manitoba, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives, through the Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) and the Livestock Knowledge Centre, will work with veterinarians and producers in responding to any suspected anthrax cases.

Any veterinarians who encounter a suspected anthrax case have been told to contact the CVO and collect a blood sample from the carcass immediately.

The authority said the veterinarian may submit the sample to Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS) at no cost. Veterinarians, who encounter suspected anthrax cases must be aware of the following:

  • Do not conduct a necropsy. Disturb the carcass as little as possible.
  • Do not submit any other type of sample other than blood for testing. Blood samples must be submitted in serum (red top) tubes.
  • Advise the producer to cover the carcass and keep other livestock away from it as much as possible.
  • Contact the CVO before submitting the sample. The CVO will make arrangements with VDS.
  • While samples from suspected cases are not technically considered dangerous goods, it is advisable to treat them as such when shipping.
  • Clearly mark on the submission form "anthrax suspect."

If a suspected case is confirmed positive, the CVO will work with the attending veterinarian to conduct a thorough disease investigation and response. The CVO will report confirmed anthrax positives to the CFIA to meet the federal disease reporting requirements on behalf of the veterinarian and the producer.

The CVO said it strongly recommends annual vaccination against anthrax for livestock in endemic areas (the Interlake and southeast Manitoba). Any producer grazing livestock within 10 kilometres of a previous anthrax cases (in the last 10 years) should be strongly encouraged to vaccinate their herd.

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