On Monday, Dr Loic Evain, Directeur Général adjoint, CVO, Direction générale de l’alimentation, Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Agroalimentaire et de la Forêt, Paris, France reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about an anthrax outbreak on a Germainvilliers, Haute-Marne farm in northeastern France.
Anthrax was confirmed by the ANSES National laboratory for Animal health, Maisons-Alfort.
Twelve cattle died, out of the 467 susceptible on the farm between 1st and 2nd of April 2017. A history of anthrax case dating back 2013 was reported on the same farm. Non-vaccinated bovines on the farm were immediately treated with antibiotic therapy and no other death has been reported ever since.
Officials say the source of the anthrax is suspected to be the result of fodder coming from a previously infected field. Investigation is ongoing.
The following control measures have been applied: Movement control inside the country, vaccination in response to the outbreak, disinfection / disinfestation, traceability, official disposal of carcasses, by-products and waste and treatment of affected animals (Antibiotic therapy).
Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of 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 their skins.
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 example would 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.
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, gastrointestinal and inhalation.
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