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Anthrax in Westbury update

October 29, 2015 8:48 AM

WC has now confirmed that a second cow which died at the farm in Westbury on Tuesday had anthrax. It is not unusual for the disease to affect other cows in the herd so this is not unexpected.

The cow was incinerated and movement will continue to be restricted at the farm.

The council continues to work with DEFRA, Environment Agency and the Animal Plant and Health Agency to investigate and to monitor the welfare of the animals.

The risk of infection in close human contacts of the animal remains low and Public Health England are monitoring potential human contacts.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease. It primarily affects herbivorous animals, although all mammals are susceptible to infection.

In humans, anthrax can affect the skin and, the respiratory or gastro-intestinal tract. It is caused by the aerobic bacillus, Bacillus anthracis, and is spread by spores. Spores can be found in animal products such as wool, hair, hides, skins, bones, bonemeal and in the carcasses of infected animals. The spores can contaminate soil and may survive for many years.

Human cases of anthrax are rare. The risk to the general public is low but it is kept under constant review. No cattle from the field have entered the "food chain" but as a precaution a local public footpath has been closed.