I found an article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/12-additional-anthrax-case_0_n_1788557.html to be troubling as I read 60 cows died on a Logan County ranch in Lakewood, Colorado from anthrax exposure; and two also died this past Wednesday, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. One of the cows out of the dead group has been positively identified as having the disease. The article also indicated this is the first outbreak of the disease in the state in 31 years.
When I read this article, I must admit, it did cause fear to run up and down my spine, I didn’t want to think about what could have happened if the cows were sent out to be sold at local stockyards within the Colorado area and to meat buyers throughout the country and maybe to other countries as well. This might have caused a horrendous outbreak of anthrax throughout all of the areas the livestock were shipped to and in the United States too.
All it would take is for one person to make a direct contact with an anthrax diseased animal through an abrasion or cut on their skin. If this did happen, they could pass the spores to another person, causing an infection of the anthrax disease and possibly an explosion throughout the states; and if the disease is not caught and treated, it can be spread from person to person.
A State Veterinarian, Keith Roehr, indicated the three ranches involved in this anthrax disease outbreak did share fences; and the new case of a death is likely the result of cows grazing in an area where anthrax spores are in the soil.
According to Roehr, these three ranches are located in the South Platte River Valley, where floods followed by drought are common and the region has alkaline soil types, characteristics favorable to anthrax spores.
I find this to be disturbing since South Platte River Valley is aware of the region having alkaline soil types and the floods and droughts make favorable conditions for anthrax spores to thrive. Why isn’t it mandatory for all of this land and other land as well containing these same type conditions be inspected prior to permitting cattle to graze on the land or making it a state mandatory law for all livestock to be vaccinated regardless of the soils condition?
It’s my belief all land that is favorable to these same type conditions throughout the country should also be inspected for anthrax spores and/or farmers alerted that their livestock’s requires to have mandatory vaccinations before they can allow their cattle to graze on this type of land. Isn’t this something to cause fear and concern for people who deal with livestock in these areas since it has been more than three decades (according to Roehr) since anthrax has suddenly surfaced?
The article stated that “no” cows left the affected ranches so there were none that entered the food supply and no human infections were reported either, Roehr said.
Roehr also stated anthrax kills livestock within hours of them being infected and it can decimate herds if the animals are not treated immediately. This could be devastating to a farmer!
Roehr stated anthrax is caused by a bacterium that forms in spores and it lies dormant in soil for decades or until it is ingested. We, as humans, get the disease through direct contact with an infected animal. Early treatment with antibiotics is effective, but if left untreated, the disease can be fatal.
The Department of Agriculture officials are investigating these incidents and the Northeast Colorado Health Department is attempting to ensure anyone who is at risk for possible exposure does receive proper treatment.
State Agriculture officials indicated that all the dead infected carcasses were incinerated because fire kills anthrax spores; and according to Tony Cappello, the district public health administrator for the Northeast Colorado Health Department states the smoke or plumes from the incineration of these carcasses does not have any health threats for the residents in northeast Colorado.
It’s my belief that anyone who is connected with cattle grazing and with taking livestock to livestock markets to sell within and outside of the country they need to be made aware of the existence of these type situations throughout the country.
If I were a farmer, I would definitely have soil analyses of the land where cattle grazes or I would definitely opt to have all of my livestock vaccinated prior to them grazing on any land.
Photograph Images & Copyrights as follows:
1. wikimedia commons/–Xocolati 15:42, 16 Oct.
2. wikimedia commons/Autan
4. wikimedia commons/Kristine Paulus`