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Annual vaccination protects sheep and cattle from anthrax in high-risk areas

Beef Central, 27/10/2022

LIVESTOCK producers who manage properties where anthrax has previously occurred, including areas bordered by Bourke and Moree to Albury and Deniliquin in the south, have been reminded to vaccinate their cattle and sheep against anthrax.

Anthrax NSW mapNSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) advise annual vaccination for livestock on these high-risk properties, which includes those close to properties where anthrax has been detected previously.

NSW DPI senior veterinary officer, Amanda Walker, said anthrax is unpredictable as it can lie dormant in the soil for decades.

“Farmers should contact their LLS district vet to obtain advice specific for their properties,” Dr Walker said.

“Anthrax is a serious disease that can kill stock of any age or class with no warning. Vaccination prevents anthrax from occurring and helps break the cycle of spore production.

“If vaccination is continued over time, spores in the environment will die, reducing the risk of anthrax occurring in the future.”

LLS State Veterinarian, Scott Ison, said farmers can apply to use the vaccine through their LLS district veterinarian.

“Once the vaccine has been authorised, farmers can place an order with their local rural supplier or private veterinarian,” Dr Ison said.

“Anthrax disease is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and affected stock often show few or no signs of ill health before they die.

“Farmers should suspect anthrax if animals die suddenly, as 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.”

Anthrax is listed as prohibited matter under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and is a notifiable disease in NSW.

Anyone who suspects anthrax must report it immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline, 1800 675 888.

Source: NSW DPI. More information about preventing anthrax is available on the NSW DPI website or by calling Local Land Services, 1300 795 299.

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