Anthrax still being reported in North Dakota

Approximately 170 cattle in the state have died this year from the virus.

December 4, 2023

1 Min Read

A new case of anthrax in beef cattle has been confirmed in North Dakota by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The last confirmed case was in August, and the latest case, discovered in Grant County, brings the total number of cases for the year to 25. North Dakota State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan recently told The Bismarck Tribune that those cases have led to approximately 170 deaths.

“The case shows how anthrax spores can remain in an environment for a long period of time,” Dr. Andress said. “There is a vaccine and many producers in the affected area worked with veterinarians to administer vaccinations earlier this year.”

Vaccines must be given annually for continued protection. Producers should monitor their herds for unexplained deaths and work with their veterinarian to ensure appropriate samples are collected and submitted to a diagnostic lab to give the best chance of obtaining a diagnosis.

“While it is unusual to see anthrax this late in the year, producers should remember that occasionally cases can be seen, especially when mild weather allows cattle to remain out on pasture,” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.

More information about anthrax and a map of current and past cases are available on North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at

Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. The bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions, such as heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.

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