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2012-08-09

Anthrax case confirmed in sheep in Irion County

Contributed

A yearling female sheep in West Texas has been diagnosed with anthrax. This is the second confirmed case of anthrax in a Texas animal for 2012 and the first in livestock this year.

The infected sheep was located near Mertzon in Irion County, which is approximately 26 miles southwest of San Angelo. Personnel with the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) have quarantined the premises. TAHC regulations require vaccinations of exposed livestock and proper disposal of carcasses before a quarantine can be released.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the southwestern part of the state. Basic sanitation precautions such as hand washing, wearing long sleeves and gloves can prevent accidental spread of the bacteria to people if handling affected livestock or carcasses.

Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are all common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and appear to decompose quickly. Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private practitioner or TAHC official.

"The TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state. Producers are encouraged to consult with their veterinary practitioner or local TAHC office about the disease and about preventative measures such as vaccination of livestock," said Texas State Veterinarian Dee Ellis, DVM.

For more information regarding anthrax, contact the local TAHC region, call 1-800-550-8242 or visit

www.tahc.state.tx.us.