Published On: Sun, Apr 7th, 2013

Canadian Food Inspection Agency changes anthrax program, advises livestock producers

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced changes  to its anthrax program this week in an effort to modernize Canada’s approach to managing animal diseases, according to a CFIA notice April 5.

The CFIA is reminding livestock producers and other stakeholders, that although anthrax is a “federally reportable disease”,  that starting April 1, they will no longer:

  • investigates and quarantines anthrax-infected premises
  • collects and submits samples for testing
  • performs anthrax testing
  • provides an initial dose of anthrax vaccine for affected herds
  • oversees carcass disposal, cleaning and disinfection
  • pays an indemnity to help cover the cost of disposing of animal carcasses

Producers seeking advice on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment or disposal of anthrax cases in their herd are encouraged to contact their private veterinarian.

Image/Agricultural Research Service/USDA

Image/Agricultural Research Service/USDA

Vaccination is an effective way to protect livestock from anthrax. Producers should consult their private veterinarians about the risks associated with anthrax and the decision to have their animals vaccinated – especially if their herd resides in an area where the disease has been detected before.

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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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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