NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Government of Northwest Territories reports a suspected anthrax outbreak is underway in the Slave River Lowlands bison population.

Image by antje89 from Pixabay

15 bison carcasses were found in the Slave River Lowlands between Fort Smith and Fort Resolution over the weekend of June 30 – July 3, 2023.

Test results are currently pending. However, this is being treated as an active outbreak because of preliminary evidence observed and collected in the field.

Accordingly, the Anthrax Emergency Response Plan has been activated.

Background on the response plan

When anthrax is suspected or detected, an Incident Management Team is mobilized to manage it.

Primary objectives include rapid detection and disposal of dead, infected bison and keeping people away from the area.

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This minimizes the release of anthrax spores into the soil, protects bison populations, and protects public health and safety.

The following actions will be taken:

  • Aerial and ground surveillance for bison carcasses
  • Rapid response to carcass sites to sample affected animals
  • Incineration or chemical treatment of bison and surrounding grass areas to prevent the spread of spores
  • Management of wildfire risks due to burning required during response

Public information will be provided to mitigate risks for people

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