Farm quarantined after anthrax kills a sheep near Swan Hill

Sheep Central, March 1, 2018

ANTHRAX has been identified as the cause of death of a sheep on a property near Swan Hill in northern Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria this afternoon said its veterinarians and animal health staff are responding to a positive case of anthrax identified in a sheep on a property near Swan Hill.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Charles Milne, said the affected property has been quarantined and biosecurity requirements have been put in place.

“We are taking the necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of this detection impacting more livestock, some local measures have been put in place and at-risk livestock are being vaccinated,” Dr Milne said.

“Quarantine controls will not affect the movement of local people or vehicles, including school bus routes.”

“Anthrax is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, that is known to be present in the soil in parts of Northern Victoria,” Dr Milne said.

“It is not unusual for incidents of anthrax to be detected in cattle and sheep in the region, with several farms in the Swan Hill area affected in March 2017.

“Incidents commonly occur during the warmer months when it’s drier and the cattle and sheep forage deeper into the soil when eating grass,” he said.

Local farmers, veterinarians and Agriculture Victoria are well prepared to handle these incidents. This includes strict quarantine and biosecurity arrangements, the vaccination of potentially exposed stock and the destruction of the carcasses of affected animals.

Agriculture Victoria said anthrax is not a concern for the public as it does not spread rapidly and is not contagious. There is no general public health risk associated with anthrax and any risk is confined to people who handle dead livestock such as farmers, veterinarians and knackery workers, Agriculture Victoria said. There is also no impact on local produce or food safety.

Farmers are urged to report any cases of unexplained deaths to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, to your local vet or to Agriculture Victoria animal health staff.

More information about anthrax is available at

Source: Agriculture Victoria.


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