ANTHRAX can lie dormant in the soil for decades, the last confirmed case was in February and the Department of Primary Industries is urging farmers across the state to vaccinate their cattle and sheep annually.
Dr Graham Bailey, senior veterinary officer for the DPI said it is an unpredictable disease which can kill stock of any age with no warning.
“Cases of anthrax in NSW tend to occur in an area which runs through the centre of the state; between Bourke and Moree in the north, to Albury and Deniliquin in the south,” Dr Bailey said.
“High risk properties include properties where anthrax has been detected previously, or close by properties. Farmers should contact their Local land Services to obtain advice specific for their properties,” he said.
“By preventing anthrax from occurring, vaccination breaks the cycle of spore production,” he said.
“If vaccination is continued over time, spores in the environment will die, reducing the risk of anthrax occurring in the future,” Dr Graham Bailey said.
For notifications of sudden death, anthrax is excluded as the cause in the vast majority of cases, however Local Land Services warn affected stock often show few or no signs of ill health before they die, but reporting sudden death is important in ruling out the threat and managing a potential outbreak.
Charlie Lucas, Local Land Services Business Partner of Animal Biosecurity and Welfare, said farmers should be suspicious of anthrax when animals die suddenly.
“Farmers should be suspicious of anthrax if animals die suddenly, because in many cases there may be no signs and the disease may begin with the sporadic deaths of single animals over a few days before building to dramatic losses in a very short time.”
“Farmers can apply to use the vaccine through their Local Land Services District Veterinarian and once authorised, they can then place an order for the vaccine with their local rural supplier or private veterinarian,” Mr Lucas said.
Anthrax is a notifiable disease in NSW. Anyone who suspects anthrax must report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.