Officials in the northeastern province of Targovishte reported an anthrax infected cow on a local farm, which since has been incinerated and destroyed, according to a Focus Information Agency report today.
The farmer, who saw the cow was not feeling well, slaughtered the animal and reported it to authorities. The place the animal was slaughtered in will be disinfected. No meat from the cow was consumed.
Earlier this year, a human anthrax death was reported in Varna District, also in the Northeast. Additional animal cases were reported HERE and HERE
Anthrax is a bacterial pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Some of the more common herbivores are cattle, sheep,goats, horses, camels and deers. Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large numberof animals in a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected.
It infects humans primarily through occupational or incidental exposure with infected animals of theirskins.
Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for years because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. This is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.
When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate into colonies of bacteria. An examplewould be a grazing cow ingests spores that in the cow, germinate, grow spread and eventually kill the animal.
The bacteria will form spores in the carcass and then return to the soil to infect other animals. The vegetative form is rarely implicated in transmission. Strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses from livestock suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination with the bacterial spores.
There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.
There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinaland inhalation.