Connect with us

Local News

Livestock farmers warned about the risk of anthrax



Fargo, North Dakota – The state’s first anthrax case this year, according to North Dakota’s state veterinarian, serves as a warning to livestock producers to take precautions to safeguard their animals from the disease, particularly in regions where the disease has a history. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at North Dakota State University confirmed the occurrence in Grant County on July 26.

“Producers in past known affected areas and counties should consult with their veterinarians to review their risk factors and vaccination needs. If producers have unusual losses on pasture, they should reach out to their local veterinarian as they are experienced and trained for this type of response,” State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress said. The state veterinarian’s office will coordinate with local and state resources to assist producers in dealing with a disease situation.

Effective anthrax vaccines are easily accessible, but immunity takes approximately a week to develop and must be given annually to maintain protection. The best chance of getting a diagnosis is for producers to keep an eye out for unexpected mortality in their herds and collaborate with their veterinarian to ensure the right samples are gathered and sent to a diagnostic lab.

“Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south-central North Dakota, but it has been found in almost every part of the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “A few anthrax cases are reported in North Dakota almost every year. The animals impacted included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.”

In North Dakota, two instances of anthrax were last noted in 2021. However, in 2005, there were more than 500 confirmed anthrax deaths reported, with a total loss of more than 1,000 people.

On the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at, you may find a fact sheet about anthrax.

Bacterial spores that cause anthrax can remain latent in the soil for decades before becoming active in the presence of favorable environmental factors like intense precipitation, flooding, and drought. When animals graze, eat forage, or drink water infected with the spores, they are exposed to the disease.