DEFRA plays down cattle death anthrax fear

DEFRA has played down fears that a cattle death on a Herefordshire farm was caused by anthrax.

The cow died suddenly in a field on a farm at Bartonsham and DEFRA was called in by a local vet who was unsure about the cause of death.

Vets are now awaiting test results which are due during the afternoon of Friday 14 October.
In the meantime footpaths around the field have been closed as a precaution and the carcass of the animal has been burnt.

A DEFRA spokesman told Farmers Weekly the investigation was just routine.
“Routine monitoring is at the core of disease prevention and control.  We regularly investigate animals to be able to rule out the possibility they have notifiable disease.  This includes the testing and disposal of those that have died suddenly.  This helps us maintain the strongest protection against the possibility of animal disease outbreaks.”

Anthrax is a notifiable disease and so must be reported to DEFRA. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

and can be spread by dormant endospores which are able to survive for decades or even centuries.
The spores can be inhaled or ingested by grazing animals.

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