Anthrax kills 13 bison in Northern BC

Ashley Moliere / October 25, 2018

Animals get infected by anthrax through soil ingestion.

Thirteen bison have died after ingesting anthrax near Fort St. John. Other livestock on the farm have received vaccines as a precautionary measure and continue to be monitored for symptoms.

Northern Health Authority doctor, Jong Kim, says that this is not an incident that most people will need to worry about.

“The naturally occurring anthrax is really an animal disease and doesn’t infect humans that easily…the anthrax is dormant in the soil and infects the animals and it doesn’t usually transmit from animal to human, soil to human or between the human at all.” – Dr. Jong Kim, Northern Health Authority

Fort St. John is the closest city to the anthrax outbreak.
(Google Earth)

13 bison die on farm due to anthrax.
(Google Earth)

A statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture said that the individuals who may have been in contact with the bison are being monitored by the local health authority. It also stated that there is no health risk to the general public.

What is anthrax?

According to the Centre of Disease Control, Anthrax is defined as an acute infectious disease which spreads through spores.

It can stay viable in soil for hundreds of years and the bacteria can infect animals as well as humans. In humans, it is transmitted through the skin, through digestion and through the lungs.

The most recent human infection happened in 2006 in Saskatchewan. The two people infected developed skin infections but made a full recovery. People who are showing signs of contamination can be treated with antibiotics.

With files from Sahil Morar.