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Texas officials reported on the confirmation of anthrax in a barbary sheep, also known as an aoudad, on a premises in Uvalde County.

Barbary sheep
Image/LadyofHats via wikimedia commons

The premises is located 16 miles north west of Uvalde, Texas, and has been quarantined.

This is the first anthrax case of the year in Texas.

“The TAHC is closely monitoring the situation in Uvalde County,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) State Veterinarian and Executive Director. “Producers are encouraged to consult their veterinary practitioner or TAHC Region Office for questions about the disease in livestock and a medical professional with concerns about personal anthrax exposure.”

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including certain parts of Texas. Anthrax cases in Texas are most often found in a triangular area bound by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass.

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It is common to see an increase in anthrax cases after periods of wet, cool weather, followed by hot, dry conditions. In this case, rainfall exposed the contaminated spores and provided opportunities for
animals to inhale the spores or ingest the anthrax bacteria while consuming grass and hay. Outbreaks usually end when cooler weather arrives.

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After exposure to anthrax, it typically takes three to seven days for animals to show clinical signs. Once symptoms begin, death will usually occur within 48 hours. Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are all common signs of anthrax in livestock. If you see wild or exotic deer dying more than 10 animals at a time, and carcasses show bleeding that is characteristic of anthrax, move livestock away from carcasses immediately.