DSHS Issues Texans an Anthrax Warning
Avoid Naturally-Occurring Anthrax
by Staying Away from Sick or Dead Wildlife
On June 27th, 2019, the DSHS warns Texans to please stay away from sick or dead wildlife to avoid Naturally-Occurring Anthrax. The following is official message release:
“The Texas Department of State Health Services is sharing steps people can take to protect against naturally-occurring anthrax. Eighteen recent animal deaths in Uvalde County, including two confirmed anthrax cases, have prompted the advice.
Anthrax is caused by spore-forming bacteria commonly found in the soil in southern and southwestern Texas. Deer, sheep, goats, cattle, horses and other animals can contract anthrax when they swallow or inhale anthrax spores while grazing. Animals usually die within two days of showing signs of infection.
Anthrax in humans is rare, though people can contract it through handling a dead or sick animal infected with anthrax. Infection in humans usually occurs through the skin. The infection typically starts out itchy and resembles an insect bite that within two to six days progresses into a painless sore with a depressed black center. Infection can also occur when people consume meat from an infected animal.
While people are susceptible to anthrax infection, no human cases have been reported in Texas this year. Basic precautions can effectively reduce the risk of people contracting anthrax and other diseases from livestock and game animals.”
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Tips to Avoid Naturally-Ocurring Anthrax
The following tips were also included in the release by DSHS Authorities:
- Avoid direct contact with dead animals, including their bones, horns or antlers.
- Keep pets and children away from dead animals.
- Do not harvest animals that appear ill or are acting abnormally.
- Wear long-sleeved garments and gloves when handling, dressing and processing game.
- Wash hands with soap and water and launder clothes immediately after animal exposure.
- Minimize contact with animal fluids, brain and spinal tissues.
- Cook all meat until well done before consuming.
What To Do If You Believe That There is a Possibilty of Exposure?
DSHS also describes the signs of contamination and that you should seek immediate medical care.
“People should contact a doctor if they develop an unusual-looking sore on the hands, arms or other exposed skin. Although it is very rare to contract skin anthrax, this infection requires treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a physician.”
Dangers of Leaving Anthrax Exposure Untreated
If you see the signs of possible contamination, it’s best to get immediate medical care. Please keep in mind that Altus Emergency is Open 24/7 and you will not have to wait in line before being seen by an ER Physician.
According to the CDC:
“Without treatment, up to 20% of people with cutaneous anthrax may die. However, with proper treatment, almost all patients with cutaneous anthrax survive.”
Also please keep in mind that anthrax is not contagious person-to-person as the flu would be transmitted. However, the sooner you get medical care, the faster will be the chances of a full recovery and avoid the possibility of long-term effects. Heed the warning to avoid naturally-occurring anthrax.