- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State Veterinarian Susan Keller is urging North Dakota ranchers to make sure their livestock are vaccinated against anthrax, after the first confirmed case of the year in a Barnes County beef cow.

Anthrax bacteria spores lie dormant in the soil and become active under extreme weather conditions such as drought or flooding, which some parts of the state have experienced after recent heavy rains.

“With the precipitation we have had, conditions are right for the disease to occur,” Keller said.

North Dakota usually has a few anthrax cases every year. An outbreak in 2005 is believed to have killed more than 1,000 cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas, and deer and elk raised on farms.

An effective anthrax vaccine is readily available through licensed veterinarians, but it takes about a week for immunity to take hold, according to Keller. It is especially important for ranchers in areas with a history of the disease to consult with a veterinarian, she said.

“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,” Keller said.

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