Anthrax found in English cow

Anthrax found in English cow

Anthrax has been discovered in a cow in England – the first case in an animal there since 2006.

The disease was detected by officials on a farm in the Westbury area of Wiltshire following the death of a cow last week, Public Health England (PHE) said.

The cow has been incinerated and restrictions have been placed on the farm.

PHE said: “The risk of infection in close human contacts of the animal is very low.”

Mike Wade, deputy director of Health Protection for PHE South West, said: “We are aware of a confirmed case of anthrax disease in a cow in the Westbury area of Wiltshire.

“The risk of infection in close human contacts of the animal is very low, and we are in touch with any potential contacts to offer public health advice.”

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

Human cases of anthrax are very rare – with the last case occurring in 2008.

Wiltshire Council said "robust action" was taken immediately.

A spokeswoman said: “We worked with our partners both locally and nationally and swift action was taken to deal with the immediate risk.

“We know any risk is low; however, as you would expect, we are taking this very seriously and we will be doing everything in our power to support the national and local experts to keep Wiltshire safe.”

A local footpath close to the farm has been closed and it was confirmed that no cattle from the field have entered the food chain.

The last case of the rare disease was almost 10 years ago on a beef farm in South Wales.

Two cows died on the farm in Rhondda Cynon Taf in April 2006. Before that, the last case seen in Britain was in 2002.

All sudden, unexplained deaths of cattle are investigated for anthrax, and hundreds of samples are examined each year.

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