Texas hunters and ranchers are being urged to take precautions to protect themselves from naturally occurring anthrax that may be spread by animals in certain parts of the state. According to the Texas Department of State Health Service (DSHS), the first case of anthrax this year was recently confirmed in a sable antelope herd on a ranch in Edwards County in West Texas.
“Hunters and livestock owners should be aware of anthrax cases in their area and take steps to protect themselves, such as not touching sick or dead animals,” Dr. Tom Sidwa, manager of the Zoonosis Control Branch at DSHS, said. “Basic precautions can minimize the chance of contracting anthrax or other disease transmitted by wildlife.”
Anthrax, a bacterium that can cause a severe, life-threatening disease in humans and animals, can affect deer, sheep, goats, cattle, horses and other animals. According to DSHS, animals usually get anthrax by swallowing its spores while grazing.
Although humans may become infected by handling a sick or dead animal with an anthrax infection, no cases have been reported in Texas this year.
To prevent the spread of the illness, DSHS offers several tips for handling livestock and game animals on their website here.