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Anthrax outbreaks in Spain

BEVA Equine Disease Surveillance Reports publish this article

October 1st, 2021

Cruz F.

On 6th September 2021 RASVE (Red de Alerta Sanitaria Veterinaria) reported a single clinical case of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) in a mare in Navalvillar de Pela, Extremadura, Spain. The mare had been admitted to the Veterinary Hospital (UEX) on 28 August 2021, showing signs of colic, tachycardia, tachypnoea and fever and died several hours later. Necropsy was carried out and samples from organs were cultured at the Microbiology Service of the Hospital, with positive pure growth in all samples. The strain was then sent to VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre (UCM, Madrid) where a positive PCR to Bacillus anthracis and its virulence plasmids PXO1 and PXO2 was notified as of 3 September 2021; the positive result was later confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory and the outbreak was reported to the OIE.

As of 1 October 2021, 17 outbreaks of anthrax have been reported in premises around the area with at least three dead horses, 46 dead cows and five dead pigs reported. A recent outbreak notified on 24 September 2021, in Merida is more than 80 km away from the initial case. There have been two human cases of anthrax (cutaneous form) confirmed in these outbreaks: a veterinary surgeon who had carried out a necropsy and the owner from an affected horse. The staff at the Veterinary Hospital (where no human cases have been reported) was immediately placed into isolation after the notification of the initial case and preventive treatment was carried out. A previous outbreak in Ciudad Real (Castilla La Mancha, Spain) where a cow died had been reported on 1 September 2021; at this stage this outbreak is presumed to be unrelated to the outbreaks in Extremadura. Epidemiological surveys are ongoing in order to confirm the cause for the exceptional spread of the disease. Control measures, including vaccination of all susceptible animals, isolation of affected premises and appropriate disposal of carcases were put in place from the first notification and are ongoing.

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Anthrax outbreaks in Spain


Universidad ComplutenseServicio de Vigilancia Sanitaria Equina (SEVISEQ). Centro de Vigilancia Sanitaria Veterinaria (VISAVET). Universidad Complutense (UCM). 111

BEVA Equine Disease Surveillance Reports

TITLE: Anthrax outbreaks in Spain

TYPE: Article


Fátima Cruz López

JOURNAL: BEVA Equine Disease Surveillance Reports


NUMERATION: 3(17):4-5

DATE: October 1st, 2021

PUBLISHING COMPANY: Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance. DEFRA


Cruz F. Anthrax outbreaks in Spain.. BEVA Equine Disease Surveillance Reports. 3(17):4-5. Equine Infectious Disease Surveillance. DEFRA. 2021. (Article)