Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Anthrax control left to provinces

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NOW that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is leaving anthrax outbreaks for livestock producers to deal with, Manitoba and other provinces and territories will play a bigger role in prevention and management of the disease the next time it strikes.

"Provincial and territorial governments are developing programs to provide support for anthrax control that will help affected producers and help protect the livestock industry as a whole," a provincial government statement said.

Anthrax is caused by naturally occurring bacteria in spores in soil. The spores can become active during hot weather that follows heavy rains or flooding. Animals that ingest the spores can get sick and die very quickly. If the animal carcass isn't disposed of properly, more spores end up in the soil.

Anyone who suspects anthrax must still report it to the CFIA district veterinarian, a Manitoba spokeswoman said. Manitoba and Alberta require it be reported to animal-health authorities and, soon, so will B.C. and Saskatchewan. Manitoba and its chief veterinarian conduct investigations into animal diseases, providing diagnostic testing and professional assessments, she said. The same support will be provided to Manitoba producers and veterinarians who encounter cases of anthrax, she said.

The chief veterinary officers in Canada, the provinces and territories are now working on anthrax-control plans, the spokeswoman said.

The CFIA no longer investigates and quarantines anthrax-infected farms, collects samples for testing, vaccinates livestock or oversees and helps pay for the cost of disposing of animals. Producers, with the help of veterinarians, are expected to take responsibility for preventing and dealing with anthrax.

There have not been any human cases of anthrax in any form reported to Manitoba Health going back to 1976.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 14, 2013 A10

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