Anthrax spores can lead to skin infections and sores when they occur in soil and lung infections when they are airborne. (Wikimedia Commons)

‘Naturally occurring’ anthrax kills 13 bison in northeastern B.C.

Health officials say there is no risk to the public

Naturally-occurring anthrax has killed 13 bison on a farm near Fort St. John in B.C.’s Peace region between Oct. 14-16.

Officials believe the animals were infected by exposure to dormant anthrax spores in the soil of a feeding site, which is no longer being used, the provincial government said Wednesday in a release. It did not say when the deaths occured.

No other animals in the 150-head herd were infected, nor were any people. There is no risk to the general public.

An anthrax vaccine for livestock is available and the rest of the herd on the farm will be vaccinated.

Officials have identified people who might have been in contact with the infection’s source and are following up with them.

Anthrax occurs naturally in livestock on the Prairies and northern Alberta. The bacteria can remain dormant in soil under certain conditions for years.

In soil, it can cause ores and infection on the skin of people who touch it. It can be treated with antibiotics and is considered much less dangerous than airborne anthrax.

The last case of human anthrax in Canada was when two people in Saskatchewan were infected in 2006 during an outbreak among mainly cattle. Their pair recovered fully.

An agriculture ministry spokesperson said that this was the first confirmed case of anthrax in animals in B.C., although veterinary literature describes a possible case 50 years ago.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Another section of Bruce Avenue closing for construction

New curbs, gutters, lighting installation will detour traffic to Howard Avenue for three weeks

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Snowbirds put on a show, not a military exercise

Letter writer responds to a letter that questioned the idea of celebrating militarism

Year-long volunteer program aims to empower Vancouver Island youths

Federally funded Youth 20/20 Can involves young people aged 15-30

V.I. Raiders earn a win against Okanagan Sun

Five interceptions help Nanaimo to a 37-13 victory Saturday at Caledonia Park

VIU staff go rock-hunting in Nanaimo for grade-school geology courses

University’s earth science department creating introductory teaching kits for schools

UPDATED: Nanaimo pumped for Red Bull Pump Track World Championship event

Nanaimo’s Ben Leslie wins men’s division of world qualifier at Steve Smith Bike Park

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Warrant issued for man who wielded machete across from Nanaimo’s tent city last year

William Robert Francis Carrigan failed to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Most Read