Anthrax confirmed in Minnesota livestock for the first time in a decade

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has confirmed the state’s first case of anthrax in livestock since 2013.

Senior veterinarian Dr. Katie Cornille says the disease sickened multiple cattle and a horse in Kittson County in the northwest corner of the state.

“The most important information especially for those who own livestock, is that if you are not up to date on anthrax vaccinations and are currently residing in Kittson County, is to maintain and update vaccination status on those anthrax vaccines.”

She tells Brownfield anthrax is caused by a spore-forming bacteria that infects livestock while grazing.

“So once those grazing animals, that cow or whatever, ingests or inhales those spores from grazing, then they become active in the body allowing that bacteria to multiply and produce toxins that cause illness.”

Cornille says most animals are found dead before symptoms appear, but some indicators of anthrax are high fever, muscle tremors, and labored breathing.

  • Safe disposal of carcasses, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling suspected or confirmed anthrax cases, decontaminating the affected areas, and vaccinating susceptible livestock are all crucial to prevent anthrax’s spread and protect the health of other animals and humans.

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