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ANTHRAX, BOVINE - UNITED KINGDOM (WALES)(04) *******************************************

Archive Number 20060429.1247
Published Date 29-APR-2006
Subject PRO/AH/EDR> Anthrax, bovine - UK (Wales)(04)

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 29 Apr 2006
From: ProMED-mail<>
Source: BBC News [edited]

Tests have found no evidence of anthrax in samples of soil, sediment 
and water at a south Wales farm where 2 cows died of the disease. 
Anthrax was confirmed on Ynys Gau farm at Gwaelod-y-Garth, near 
Cardiff, last Sunday after 2 of 6 dead cattle were shown to be infected.

Restrictions remain in places around Ynys Gau farm. But the Welsh 
Assembly Government said negative results in the latest tests 
indicated the risk to animals was low. Restrictions on land and 
livestock may be lifted if there are no more cases. Consideration 
will be given to the lifting of any restrictions on the livestock and 
land should no further cases occur. [Usually this is 14-21 days after 
herd vaccination or last known case. While it is not reported one 
might presume that the herd has been vaccinated. - Mod.MHJ]

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones had said last week that vets 
believed a pool was the source of the anthrax on the farm. Officials 
also said they thought the outbreak was linked to a similar positive 
anthrax test at the same farm 35 years ago.

Since the latest case was confirmed, the farm has remained sealed 
off, with footpaths shut and the dead cows' carcasses incinerated. 
The Health Protection Agency said it had now found no evidence of 
anthrax in any of the 15 environmental samples it took from locations 
considered the most likely sources of infection.

In a statement, the assembly government said: "It is impossible to 
pinpoint the specific location in the risk area that led to the 
cattle becoming infected. These negative results will be used to 
advise the farmer on animal health measures, and taking action as 
appropriate should any further cases occur."

"Monitoring of the remaining stock will continue. Consideration will 
be given to the lifting of any restrictions on the livestock and land 
should no further cases occur. Public health concerns have been 
carefully considered and implications are minimal. The main risk is 
to the farmer from direct contact with infected animals. He has been 
given appropriate advice," it went on.

The risk to users of the local river was described as "negligible," 
while the danger to walkers  and their paths after restrictions were 
lifted would be "minimal." The statement said: "Consequently, once we 
are certain that the infection is no longer present in the stock, we 
will consider lifting the restrictions on the rights of way. As 
illness in humans is usually caused by direct contact with diseased 
animals, it is unlikely that any persons using the public rights of 
way would be exposed to the infection. The possibility of infection 
through inhalation or ingestion of the spores is even more remote and 
does not present a risk in these circumstances."

This is the 1st case of anthrax in Britain since a cow died on a farm 
in Wrexham 4 years ago.


[This rabbiting on about negligible risks to humans is very necessary 
in this day and age, but to us who know the disease it seems a bit 
over the top. I once was taken on as a consultant by a lawyer -- I 
will not say where -- who, without consulting me first privately, 
started his public questioning on behalf of the new owner of a 
property, where anthrax broke out soon after the ink was dry on the 
sale documents, on the basis that merely opening the farm gate put 
one at lethal risk. He was unhappy to say the least when I told the 
court that it takes some effort to find the spores in soil and the 
number of verified cases of human anthrax from direct access to 
contaminated soil can be counted on the fingers of one hand, clenched.

Russian statistics claim otherwise, but this comes from criminal 
investigations of outbreaks into the non-reporting of livestock 
cases. Saying that you were "hoeing a field and developed a cutaneous 
lesion" is the excuse given when someone had been butchering the dead 
animal which now is nowhere to be seen and the meat has been sold in 
the local market and given to neighbours.

Many years ago (1972) I investigated an anthrax outbreak at Compton. 
It had started with one cow death which was followed about a week 
later by 3 more dead cows. The index cow died from a contaminated 
Spanish mineral mix. The secondary cases were from the extravasated 
blood from the 1st cow's nose; when her carcass was burnt, a small 
patch of bloody soil, say 12 by 18 inches, was not dung up and burnt 
with the carcass. The institute had constructed a small barbed wired 
fence around the burn site, but this bloody soil patch was right at 
the edge; you could see that her herd mates had found it by the wire 
being bent upwards and with hair attached at that specific place, 
presumably attracted by the smell and salt. We monitored it for some 
6 months, finding it positive all the while. Unfortunately the 
director or someone didn't like what we were doing and the fence was 
removed and thus the landmarks.

Based on his time in Natal, Max Stern told me that in his experience, 
surface-soil contamination would remain a risk for between 3 months 
and 3 years, which is why it is a good idea to annually vaccinate 
such exposed herds for 2-3 years after an outbreak. Experience has 
confirmed the value of his observation.

While the cause of this Welsh outbreak is a matter of speculation and 
may never be resolved, it is interesting how other events later in 
the year can throw a light on a probable cause. - Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Anthrax, bovine - UK (Wales) (03) 20060427.1227
Anthrax, bovine - UK (Wales) (02): OIE 20060427.1225
Anthrax, bovine - UK (Wales) 20060423.1192]





































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