A yearling female sheep in West Texas has been diagnosed with anthrax.
This makes the second confirmed case of anthrax in a Texas animal for 2012. During the spring, anthrax was confirmed in a white-tailed deer near Uvalde.
The infected sheep was located near Mertzon, Texas in Irion County, which is about 26 miles southwest of San Angelo.
The Texas Animal Health Commission has quarantined the premises. TAHC regulations require vaccinations of exposed livestock and also proper disposal of carcasses before a quarantine can be released.
Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with a worldwide distribution, including Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the southwestern part of the state. Basic sanitation precautions such as hand washing, wearing long sleeves and gloves can prevent accidental spread of the bacteria to people if handling affecting livestock or carcasses.
Acute fever, followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings, all are common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also look bloated and may appear to decompose quickly.
Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private practitioner or a TAHC official.
"The TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state," says TAHC state veterinarian Dr. Dee Ellis. "Producers are encouraged to consult with their veterinary practitioner or local TAHC office about the disease and about preventive measures such as vaccination of livestock."
For more information regarding anthrax, you can contact your local TAHC region or call 1-800-550-8242 or you can go online and visit the TAHC website at www.tahc.state.tx.us.
The Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.