Anthrax -Are hunters, taxidermists, & veterinarians at risk?

Submitted by Lee Ann on 10/24/01. ( )

Taxidermists need to know what to look for when handling an animal carcass. Should some veterinarians (those that treat farm animals) and taxidermists be vaccinated? Is it really safe to accept a steer hide without knowing its cause of death? As deer season approaches is anyone else concerned? Perhaps the DNR would have some information.

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Over the past five years, several cases have been present.

This response submitted by John C on 10/24/01. ( )

In several cases over the past five years hunters have contracted ANTHRAX from wildlife. Nomally most have passed it off as flu. We even face the dangers of BLACK PLAQUE 1999 North Dakota Trapper died after skinning a bobcat. One case last year in Texas of Anthrax froma hunter skinning a BISON, three cases from the hill country two from deer and one from a Black Buck. Normal precautions of hydro (creams) dermal protection, rubber gloves, and care should be enough, if you are really worried mask with a carbon filter and antibotic surface are available.

Lee Ann

This response submitted by George on 10/24/01. ( )

There are MANY things we face as taxidermists that can be harmful, if not fatal, but please don't get caught up in the Chicken Little syndrome being cast on us by the overzealous, liberal media. In the Untied States prior to this current situation, only ONE case of anthrax had been recorded since 1991. Now there have been 12 and 3 of those people died after having been exposed to a REFINED form of the spongiform in the air. Now with 300,000,000 people in the country, the fraction (.0000004% of the population) that has contracted this naturally occuring disease is less than minimal. You have a much better chance of contracting Lyme, encyphelitis, plague, or rabies than you do anthrax. That doesn't mean you can be sloppy. You should ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling ANY animal if for no other reason than to keep the funk from under your fingernails. If we fall prey to the panic being fed to us my the major networks, the terrorists have already won.

Lee Ann

This response submitted by CUR on 10/24/01. ( )

RE: Anthrax. I have prepared a paper detailing the nature and risk of Anthrax, as well as its characteristics. The first part deals with precautions for animal handlers and taxidermists. I posted it's availability on the forum a while back and have now sent more than 175 copies out to requests. Where were You?

John, nearly all anthrax histories in Texas are centered on Real and Edwards Counties around Ulvalde, not the hill country.

George didn't mention tuleremia, a much more dangerous bacterium than is B. anthracis. By now, it is common knowledge that infection from the anthrax bacillus requires from 10,000 to 40,000 spores to cause disease. Well, young lady, tuleremia requires from just one to ten to cause infection. It is far more common and dangerous than anthrax and is also a considered biological terror weapon. It just has a shorter shelf life, making it less practical.

The advice above is sound, but your chance of contracting anthrax is slim to none outside of some geo-specific areas where wild game is concerned. Exotic and trans-located mammals that come from regions of high infestation must always be considered to be higher risk.

There have been 225 cases of anthrax in the United States since 1955, most inside very specific regions. Of those 11 were pleural or inhalation anthrax. Ten deaths resulted from the infections.

Prior to the development of modern anti-bacterial medications, anthrax vaccinations in high risk workers and improved kenetic anti microorganism control, the US had around 200 cases of anthrax each year - possibly more, but it wasn't a reportable disease in a number of states prior to the establishment of the CDC. More on request.

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