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Australia - Anthrax outbreak in animals 2024

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  • Australia - Anthrax outbreak in animals 2024

    Anthrax detection near Shepparton

    12 February 2024

    Agriculture Victoria veterinarians and animal health staff are responding to the detection of anthrax on a single beef property in the Shepparton region – where five beef cattle have died.

    Following the report on the evening of 8 February, the property was quarantined, and all livestock on the affected property have been vaccinated. Neighbouring properties have also been informed.

    Victoria's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke said due to early reporting by the impacted farmer and veterinarians, swift action was able to be taken to reduce the likelihood of the detection impacting more livestock.

    ‘Anthrax is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, that is known to be present in the soil in parts of Victoria,’ Dr Cooke said.

    ‘Incidents of anthrax detected in cattle and sheep in the region 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, vehicles, or livestock.’



    Anthrax in Victorian cattle

    Current situation - 16/02/2024 updated as at 11am

    Anthrax has been confirmed as the cause of death in cattle on a second property located north-east of Shepparton.

    The affected property is an immediate neighbour of the first affected property and has been immediately quarantined. The carcass will be safely disposed of and the remaining cattle on the property will be vaccinated.

    The affected properties will remain under quarantine until 20 days following the completion of vaccination of all stock on the affected property, or for 20 days after the last anthrax death, whichever is the longer.

    When a property is quarantined, no livestock or animal products can leave the property. Vehicles and equipment that have been in contact with infected carcases and not been disinfected appropriately also cannot leave the property.

    Quarantine controls will not affect the movement of local people, vehicles, or livestock.

    Outbreaks of anthrax have previously been confirmed in this area and sporadic cases are not unusual in northern Victoria.

    This incident again highlights the importance of early reporting and the need to consider anthrax as a differential diagnosis whenever unexplained sudden death occurs in sheep, cattle or other susceptible species in Victoria.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela