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Five sheep dead from anthrax on four properties near Swan Hill as net widens

by Terry Sim, 15 March 2017

FARMERS are being urged to report unexplained sheep deaths after further cases of anthrax were reported in the Swan Hill area.

Five sheep deaths from anthrax have been confirmed across four adjacent properties. Other sheep have died on the properties over the last two weeks, but these have not yet been confirmed as due to anthrax.

Agriculture Victoria today said it was continuing to respond to further anthrax cases in sheep across two non-contiguous premises in the Swan Hill district. A further suspected case of anthrax, confirmed by laboratory testing over the weekend, was detected at a separate but related property on Friday March 10 2017.

An additional two nearby locations have now had sheep return positive tests for anthrax, thereby bringing the total number of confirmed positive test locations to four. It is important to note that these new locations are adjacent to the premises already identified on March 10, Agriculture Victoria said.

Agriculture Victoria said it was responding to the anthrax confirmations with well-established procedures to contain the disease, including thorough vaccination of exposed and at-risk animals and disposal of carcasses of affected stock. Each of the infected premises have been quarantined and movement of livestock is being investigated, including to other premises. As the Incident Management Team was already in place, the response to these additional cases has been swift and comprehensive, Agriculture Victoria said.

Anthrax does occur in Victoria from time to time and it is not entirely unusual for the disease to emerge at this time of the year, with notable outbreaks in 1997 and 2007. Local farmers, veterinarians and Agriculture Victoria staff are working together and are well prepared to handle these biosecurity incidents.

Agriculture Victoria urged farmers and those working with livestock to be vigilant for anthrax. Prompt reporting of suspected cases may potentially reduce the contamination of affected farms.

Any unexplained sudden deaths in livestock should be immediately reported to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, to your local vet or to Agriculture Victoria animal health staff.

Agriculture Victoria staff will continue to be deployed to the response until no further infected premises or infected livestock are detected.

Further information can be found at: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/animal-diseases/general-livestock-diseases/anthrax-in-animals

Source: Agriculture Victoria.

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