August 9, Food Safety News – (Colorado) Anthrax outbreak on Colorado ranch kills cattle.
Colorado‘s first anthrax outbreak in a generation was being investigated on a Logan County ranch, the State government confirmed, Food Safety News reported August 9. Anthrax, an infection caused by the spores produced by Bacillus anthracis, has reportedly killed at least 50 head of cattle on the Colorado ranch. Only bovine infections are likely to arise from the Colorado outbreak, but humans can become infected with anthrax by either breathing spores from infected animal products or eating undercooked meat from infected animals. Foodborne or gastrointestinal anthrax is rare. Colorado placed the ranch involved under quarantine and notified surrounding ranches about the outbreak. No cattle left the ranch before the quarantine, and no infected cattle entered the human food supply, the State veterinarian said. The anthrax was confirmed by a necropsy performed on a dead animal by the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories. Cattle, people, and equipment were all being monitored to prevent the disease from leaving the quarantined ranch. During a drought like the one now affecting eastern Colorado, spores can develop naturally in the soils of riverbeds. During periods of rain or flood, these spores can become active and kill many animals quickly, often before anyone realizes they are infected.