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Friday, July 2, 2010


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 1 Jul 2010
Source: CBC News [edited]

Bison anthrax outbreak in N.W.T. lowlands
Government wildlife teams in the Northwest Territories are working to
control an anthrax outbreak about 80 kilometres [50 miles] southeast
of Fort Resolution, south of Yellowknife. A total of 7 bison carcasses
in the Slave River Lowlands have tested positive for the disease. They
were spotted within an 8-kilometre [5-mile] area during a 23 Jun 2010
surveillance flight. There are about 600 bison in the area, according
to officials.

"We'll have regular surveillance flights to look for any additional
cases. The trick is to find carcasses as quickly as possible," Brett
Elkin, a disease specialist with the N.W.T. Environment and Natural
Resources Department told CBC News. "They're immediately disinfected
with a chemical disinfectant called formaldehyde ... it keeps other
animals from scavenging, and it cleans off the surface and kills all
the spores. And then a 2nd crew will come in later and burn each
carcass, basically incinerate it so there's nothing left."

Elkin said disposal crews wear protective suits and are careful not to
touch the carcasses.

No humans have contracted anthrax in the Northwest Territories, and
the area in question has been closed to the public. The area is only
accessible by boat and ATV [all terrain vehicle] at this time of year,
the department said.

A total of 14 other anthrax outbreaks in the Slave River Lowlands and
Wood Buffalo National Park were reported between 1962 and 2007.

Communicated by:

[This report says it all. In fact outbreaks of anthrax in wood bison
can be found for this specific area in the Hudson Bay annual reports
of Fort Chipewyan of around 1840. They have regular weekly
surveillance flights of known anthrax foci within and adjoining the
Wood Bison National Park (WBNP). They are so skilled and expert that
the 'Hot Shot' teams can burn up to 3 adult bison in one day. No mean
feat as the bulls -- the usual victims -- weight around 2500 pounds.

The formaldehyde actively discourages the wolves, foxes, and bears
from scavenging the bison carcasses. This is very important as
otherwise an area of some 100 to 250 square miles can get
significantly contaminated. Plus this rapid burn policy is reducing
the incidence in and around the WBNP. - Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Anthrax, bison - Canada (AB) 20070913.3030
Anthrax, bison - CANADA (NWT) (03) 20070816.2686
Anthrax, bison - Canada (NWT) (02) 20070731.2466
Anthrax, bison - Canada (NT) 20070727.2428
Anthrax, bison - Canada (NT)(02) 20060711.1913
Anthrax, bison - Canada (NWT) 20060704.1836
Anthrax, bison - Canada (Alberta) (05) 20010829.2051
Anthrax, bison - Canada (Alberta) (04) 20010804.1536
Anthrax, bison - Canada (Alberta) (03) 20010719.1403
Anthrax, bison - Canada (Alberta) (02) 20010713.1361
Anthrax, bison - Canada (Alberta): confirmed 20010708.1322
Anthrax, suspected, bison - Canada (Alberta) 20010703.1276
Anthrax, wood bison - Canada (Alberta) (03) 20000813.1350
Anthrax, wood bison - Canada (Alberta) (02) 20000731.1268
Anthrax, wood bison - Canada (Alberta) 20000720.1197]
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