NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services are encouraging farmers in the centre of the state to vaccinate their livestock following confirmation of the second case of anthrax for 2019.
Drought conditions have created a favourable environment for anthrax infections and the most recent case occurred further west than would normally be expected.
DPI Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr Graham Bailey said while there were no general public health risks or trade implications from the detection, in these conditions producers should consider vaccination to protect their livestock.
“Ingestion of soil by sheep, cattle and other ruminants is one of the key risk factors for anthrax, which is why drought conditions are increasing the risk,” Dr Bailey said.
“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.
“Anthrax can be prevented by annual vaccination of cattle and sheep. Producers in high risk locations are encouraged to consider vaccination.”
Other risk factors include a history of anthrax on the property, grazing stubble or very short pastures, low ground cover, deep cultivation or earthworks in paddocks, rain causing soil movement or exposure, contact with infected carcasses and alkaline soils which favour spore survival.
The state’s second and most recent case was located in the Western Local Land Services region and occurred in a mob of rams.
Biosecurity measures including stock movement restrictions and the vaccination of remaining livestock were immediately imposed.
“In both cases this year, the stock that developed anthrax were not vaccinated,” Dr Bailey said.
Western Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Trent McCarthy said those wishing to vaccinate can apply to their Local Land Services District Veterinarian.
“Once approved you can order the vaccine through your local rural supplier or private veterinarian.”
“Anyone who suspects anthrax must report it immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.”
For more information about preventing anthrax, visit the DPI website or call Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.