Anthrax has affected a herd of cattle on a farm in Garešnica, Croatia, which has killed at least two cows and left dozens susceptible to the bacterial disease, according to recent OIE report.


The notification from Dr Mirjana Mataušic-Pišl, Assistant to Minister Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture, Zagreb, Croatia says the diagnosis of anthrax was based on necropsy and laboratory identification of the causative agent, Bacillus anthracis. Of the herd of 40 cattle that were not directly affected, these cattle would be vaccinated according to Croatian officials.

Anthrax is a pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Some of the more common herbivores are cattle, sheep, goats, horses, camels and deers.

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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