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Post-mortem examinations confirmed anthrax disease in two cows on a farm in situated in Westbury, South West England.
Both animals were incinerated at the end of October when the infections were discovered and movement restrictions were put in place at the site.
According to health experts, no cattle from the field have entered the food chain and risks of infection around the farm are low. The people most at risk are abattoir workers and other people who handle the dead animals.
"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”, said Maggie Rae, Director of Public Health and Wiltshire Council Corporate Director.
The council is working alongside Public Health England, the Department for Environment and Food Affairs, the Environment Agency and Plant Health Agency to deal with the situation.
The lethal disease is spread by spores and has been used for bioweapons programmes in the US and elsewhere. Its microscopic spores can be released without being detected and the disease can be deadly unless a patient is quickly given large doses of antibiotics.
Anthrax spores last a long time in soil and can infect animals after decades in a different area. The most recent outbreak in the UK among animals was on a farm in South Wales in 2006 when two cows died.
However, the Wiltshire farm also had an outbreak of the disease in 1996, which was thought to have been caused by ground works on filtration beds in an old tannery site near the land. The site is currently under inspection.
Source: White Horse News