Anthrax ruled out over cow death

Dec 13 2002

By The Journal


A cow found dead at a farm did not die from anthrax, officials yesterday confirmed.

Tests for the killer disease were carried out following the discovery of a beef suckler cow's body on a farm in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire.

But examinations at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey, found the seven-year-old animal did not die from the deadly bacteria.

Animal health inspectors incinerated the animal, razed the ground it died on, and carried out chemical spraying to disinfect Balcorrach Farm after a local vet initially diagnosed the death as anthrax-related.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We don't know what the animal died of but it was most probably natural causes.

"Because the body was incinerated, all we have to go on is the blood samples and were not able to do a post-mortem." Precautionary movement restrictions imposed on the farm have been lifted.

Anthrax bacteria, which affects humans and animals, is found in soil and can be brought to the surface by heavy rain. The naturally-occurring spores are particularly resilient and will survive for decades unless treated. Vets said that the disease can be treated with antibiotics, and can only be transferred by close contact with an infected subject.

The last confirmed case of anthrax in cattle occurred in England and Wales this year.