Anthrax confirmed in Victorian sheep

Dead sheep in a field

Anthrax was confirmed as the cause of death of sheep on two properties near Swan Hill in March 2018. Positive test results using the immunochromatographic test kit (ICT) in the field were confirmed by culture and PCR at the DEDJTR veterinary laboratory, Agribio, Bundoora.

Both properties were in the same area affected by the anthrax outbreak in March 2017: one was a property that was affected last year and the other was a neighbour to a previously affected property. Quarantine and biosecurity measures were put in place, at-risk animals vaccinated and carcasses destroyed by Agriculture Victoria staff.

Thirty-three ICT tests (19 positive) with laboratory confirmation were conducted during the outbreak and more than 3500 susceptible livestock were vaccinated.

These diagnoses highlight the need to think 'anthrax' whenever unexplained sudden death occurs in sheep, cattle or other susceptible species in Victoria, regardless of the location.

If you suspect anthrax the in-field screening test (ICT) must be used before a post-mortem is completed or the carcass is moved. This ICT kit can only be used by veterinarians who are accredited by Agriculture Victoria. If you are not accredited please contact your local District Veterinary Officer (DVO) who can arrange training with you.

If you complete an anthrax investigation using an ICT, please notify your local DVO. If you cannot reach the DVO, ring the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline (1800 675 888).

Subsidies are available for undertaking anthrax investigations. Learn more about subsidies for conducting disease investigations, including sudden death investigations for anthrax.

Page last updated: 04 Mar 2024