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Tests confirm S.D. anthrax cases

PIERRE, S.D. -- State Veterinarian Sam Holland said Thursday that lab tests have positively confirmed a second case of anthrax in Hutchinson County.

The cases are not alarming, said Holland, but are a cause for concern.

"We see anthrax almost every year in some part of the state and we never know where (it will crop up). Some years, we've seen it in three corners of the state in the same week."

Holland said the disease, which can occur in both humid or drought conditions, is difficult to predict.

"We can see it under normal conditions or in cases where soil is disrupted to put in a water line," he said, explaining that the digging can expose dangerous anthrax spores that have stayed dormant in the soil.

The state had only two case of anthrax in 2007, one in Brown County and another in Brule County.

Holland said there were 57 cases in 2005.

"There were hundreds and hundreds of animals lost," he said.

Anthrax vaccines are effective, said Holland, and animal vaccination is recommended.