North Dakota officials report first case of anthrax in cattle

August 6, 2021

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota agriculture officials are warning producers to monitor their livestock after the first case of anthrax was confirmed earlier this week.

The disease was reported in cattle in a Kidder County beef herd. Officials say producers in the county and surrounding areas should check with their veterinarians to see if they should start vaccinating their cattle for anthrax.

Anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week to establish immunity, and the vaccine must be administered annually.

Anthrax is caused by bacterial spores that can lie dormant in the ground until they are activated by heavy rains, flooding or drought.

Two cases of anthrax were reported in North Dakota in 2020. In 2005, more than 500 confirmed animal deaths from anthrax were reported with total losses estimated at more than 1,000 head.