Swan Hill anthrax update
21 March 2017
Agriculture Victoria continues to respond to an anthrax incident involving deaths across four sheep properties in the Swan Hill district.
Victoria's Chief Veterinary Officer Charles Milne said there are more than 30 Agriculture Victoria staff working on this incident, many of whom are in the field undertaking the protective vaccination program of susceptible animals on both 'infected' and 'at risk' properties.
"There have been around 4300 animals vaccinated to date, including 4032 sheep, 109 cattle, 139 pigs and twelve goats," Dr Milne said.
"Anthrax incidents commonly occur during the warmer
months, when it's drier and the cattle and sheep forage deeper into the soil
when eating grass."
Dr Milne said local farmers, veterinarians and Agriculture Victoria are well prepared to handle these incidents.
Anthrax is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria that is known to occur in the soil in parts of northern Victoria. It is not unusual for incidents of anthrax to be detected in cattle and sheep in the region.
Anthrax is not a concern for the general public;
- Anthrax does not spread rapidly.
- There is no general public health risk associated with anthrax.
- Human cases are exceeding rare. The risk is confined to people who handle dead livestock such as farmers, veterinarians and knackery workers.
- As a precaution, people from the affected farm are being offered testing.
- There is no impact on local produce or food safety.
Farmers are urged to report any cases of unexplained 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.
Further information can be found on our Anthrax in Animals page
Categorised under: Biosecurity