The first confirmed case of anthrax in a Texas animal for 2012 has been detected in an adult white-tailed male deer near Uvalde in Uvalde County.
At this time, no domestic livestock are involved, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.
"The TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state," says Dee Ellis, DVM, Texas’ state veterinarian. "Producers are encouraged to consult with their veterinary practitioner or local TAHC office about the disease."
Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including Texas.
It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the Southwest part of the state. In recent years, cases have been primarily confined to a triangular area bounded by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona, and Eagle Pass.
In 2011, the first case of anthrax in Texas was detected on a ranch in Hill County near Whitney when it was confirmed in a cow. The TAHC quarantined the premise at that time after the cow tested positive for the reportable disease. That March 2011 case was somewhat unusual for two reasons - it was detected earlier in the year than normal, and also in a different part of the state than expected. There had been no previous cases of anthrax in livestock reported in Hill County.
According to the TAHC, if an animal dies from the disease and isn’t properly disposed of by burning, the bacteria can spill out into the soil and remain dormant for long periods of time. The anthrax bacteria may later resurface on grass or forage under ideal weather and soil conditions during spring and summer months, which could then be ingested.
Symptoms of anthrax in livestock can be non-specific including high fever or convulsions, or in many cases, acute death may be the first sign noticed by a producer.
The TAHC works to protect the health of all Texas livestock.
For more information regarding anthrax, you can go online and visit http://www.tahc.tx.us/animal_health/anthrax/anthrax.html.
Or you can call the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242.