« Home | Smallpox Drug Passes First Human Safety Tests » | U.S. Biodefense Bill to Be Reintroduced Today » | Drug Trials With a Dose of Doubt - A TIMES INVESTI... » | Work on Pandemic Flu Vaccines Must Start Now, WHO ... » | N.Y. Times Receives Suspicious Mail » | Medical Journal Says It Was Again Misled » | EDITORIAL - Time to end anthrax suit » | Pentagon weighs options in anthrax vaccine suit - ... » | Bio-Weapons: Creating the Next Generation of Anthr... » | THE FDA LOWERS THE BOOM ON CITIZENS' RIGHTS »

'Flurry' of anthrax cases ver weekend

Melfort Journal
Greg Wiseman

Animal deth toll reaches 162, human case confirmed in Melfort

Quote: "The man, who is not being identified, is being treated with antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery."

Officials were optimistic the anthrax outbreak in northeast Saskatchewan had turned a corner late last week, but over the weekend a flurry of new cases has deflated that good feeling.

Dr. Sandra Stephens, a program specialist with the animal health program network of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said 13 more positive premises over the weekend brings the number of quarantine sites up to 45, of which 39 are confirmed positive.
"We are all hoping to turn a corner but because of the environmental conditions we had in the entire area this spring there is always a risk because we don't know where the anthrax spores are buried," she said yesterday, Monday.

Ross Hawkes, a student veterinarian with the Mohawk Animal Clinic in Melfort is out collecting samples of the dead animals for submission to laboratories.

He said new cases have been popping up all over the area.

"We have some suspect cases we are still waiting for confirmation on. There have been some cases we have taken samples from that have been highly suspect and we are just waiting for word," he said late last week.

On the 45 quarantined sites Stephens said the animal death toll has climbed to 162 and those cases were in five new rural municipalities.

Joining the list of previous RMs is the RM of Ponass Lake (367), Pleasantdale (398) Humboldt (370), Nipawin (487) and Torch River (488).

As if the growth of the anthrax outbreak, which started on June 26, wasn't enough, a man in Melfort has been confirmed to have contracted skin anthrax.

Dr. Ross Findlater, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer said the man, a 50-year-old farmer from the Melfort area is being treated for skin anthrax.

"That person did have direct skin to skin contact, unprotected with a dead animal and also he had a cut as well so there are a lot of risk factors as opposed to somebody just walking down the street in Melfort," Findlater said.

The man, who is not being identified, is being treated with antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery.

In the wake of the human case Findlater said there are two main messages for the people of Melfort. He said people should not worry too much about it as it is not a big public health threat and cannot be spread from person to person.

"But if you are on a farm where there is infected cattle and you get a skin lesion it is important you get it checked out. If it does turn out to be anthrax, it is easily treatable."

The good news in the battle against the outbreak is after nearly a week of waiting a large shipment of vaccine has been delivered to the local veterinary clinics.

Hawkes said there were about 11,000 doses expected to arrive at the Mohawk Animal Clinic late last week straight from the manufacturer.

Although Hawkes is relieved the shipment has arrived he said the producers are happier than he is.

"It has been frustrating for them and for us not being able to get it quick enough because they could have vaccinated their cows a week ago," he said.

"We are hoping not to see too many more positive cases after we get all this vaccine distributed."