Vaccine protects sheep and cattle from anthrax in high-risk areas

14 Nov 2023

2020 Anthrax NSW

Livestock producers who manage properties where anthrax has previously occurred and in areas bordered by Bourke and Moree in the north, to Albury and Deniliquin in the south, are being reminded to vaccinate their cattle and sheep against anthrax.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) advise annual vaccination for livestock on these high-risk properties, including those close to properties where anthrax has been detected previously, as anthrax is a serious disease, which can kill stock of any age or class with no warning.

NSW DPI Animal Biosecurity Manager, Elizabeth Braddon said anthrax is unpredictable as it can lie dormant in the soil for decades.

“Farmers should contact their Local Land Services (LLS) district vet to obtain advice specific for their properties,” Dr Braddon said.

“Vaccination prevents anthrax from occurring and helps break the cycle of spore production.

“If vaccination is continued over time, spores in the environment will die, reducing the risk of anthrax occurring in the future.”

Anthrax is listed as prohibited matter under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and is a notifiable disease in NSW.

Anyone who suspects anthrax must report it immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline, 1800 675 888.

LLS Acting Business Partner, Animal Biosecurity & Welfare, Emily Stearman said anthrax disease is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis and affected stock often show few or no signs of ill health before they die.

“Farmers can apply to use the vaccine through their LLS district veterinarian and once authorised, they can place an order for the vaccine with their local rural supplier or private veterinarian,” Dr Stearman said.

“Farmers should suspect anthrax if animals die suddenly. In many cases there may be no signs and the disease may begin with the sporadic deaths of single animals over a few days before building to dramatic losses in a very short time.”

More information about preventing anthrax is available on the NSW DPI website or from LLS, 1300 795 299.

Media contact: 02 6391 3686