A SWAN Hill sheep farm has been quarantined after the bacterial disease anthrax was confirmed in the flock by authorities.
Victoria’s acting chief veterinary officer Dr Cameron Bell said quarantine notices had been put in place until the necessary biosecurity requirements, including carcase disposal and site disinfection, were completed.
He said the case was on a farm which has had a history of anthrax and at-risk stock on the property are vaccinated.
Anthrax is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, that is known to be present in the soil in parts of northern Victoria.
Anthrax outbreaks were also detected in the Swan Hill area in March and November last year.
“Anthrax detections in livestock occur in Victoria from time to time.
“They commonly occur during the warmer months when it is drier and cattle and sheep forage deeper into the soil when grazing,” Dr Bell said.
Quarantine controls will not affect the movement of local people or vehicles, including school bus routes.”
Agriculture Victoria said local farmers, veterinarians and AV officers are well prepared to handle these incidents. This isolated case was detected as part of ongoing surveillance for anthrax and other livestock diseases.
“We are taking the necessary steps to reduce the chance of more livestock being affected,” Dr Bell said.
Agriculture Victoria said anthrax is not a concern for the public. It does not spread rapidly and is not contagious. There is no general public health risk associated with the disease and any risk is confined to people who handle dead livestock such as farmers, veterinarians and knackery workers. There is no impact on local produce or food safety, Agriculture Victoria said.
However, Agriculture Victoria said although the risk to human health is low, people exposed or potentially exposed to anthrax should refer to the Communicable Disease Hotline on 1300 651 160.
Farmers are urged to report any cases of unexplained livestock 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.
Learn more about anthrax in animals.
Source: Agriculture Victoria.