Anthrax found in a cow


<div>A young bull on a farm in Southern Finland was diagnosed with anthrax on 18 September. The animal had no clinical symptoms consistent with anthrax, but was being treated by a veterinarian for an infection. </div>

Another cow on the same farm was also ill and running a temperature. No animals have died of the disease. Anthrax was found on this farm also in 2004. The transport of cattle from the farm is forbidden at the moment.

Anthrax is a disease caused by an endospore forming bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, primarily found in vegetarian animals but also in other species. Animals are usually infected by orally ingested bacterial spores, but can catch the infection also through the respiratory organs, skin lesions and insect bites. Cattle are the most susceptible to an anthrax infection and can be suddenly killed by the disease without showing any symptoms. The most common symptoms of anthrax include high temperature and bleeding.

People can also be infected with anthrax, although the infection is very rare in humans and is usually caused by contact with a sick animal or products from a sick animal. Anthrax cannot be transmitted from one human to another and it is treatable with antibiotics.

If anthrax is suspected in an animal, the municipal veterinarian shall be immediately contacted. Samples are always to be sent to Evira for analysis if an infection is suspected. The carcass of an animal that has died of anthrax must be destroyed in an animal waste treatment facility by means of heating and the required cleaning actions and other precautions are carried out under control of the veterinary authorities.

Health authorities are by virtue of the Communicable Diseases Act responsible for actions related to the health care of humans.

For more information, please contact:

Sirpa Kiviruusu, Senior Officer, Evira, Animal Disease Control, tel. +358 (0) 400 920 503, sirpa.kiviruusu

Jaana Seppänen, Special Researcher, Evira, Animal Disease Research, tel. +358 (0) 50 435 1712, jaana.seppanen

Ville Lehtinen, Infectious Disease Specialist, National Public Health Institute, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, tel. +358 (0) 9 4744 8557, ville.lehtinen

Information on anthrax (in Finnish)

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