Anthrax found on Swedish farm

A case of anthrax has been discovered at a cattle farm outside Örebro, in central Sweden. The diagnose was set on Sunday by the National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt - SVA).

The Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) has now taken measures to avoid the infection spreading.

There is no threat to public safety.

One cow has been found carrying the infection. But over the past week several animals have died on the affected farm.

“We suspect that several have died of the same cause. But we’ve only tested one animal. The farm has a total of roughly 80 animals, and between 10 to 20 of them died recently,” said Gunilla Hallgren, veterinary at SVA, to news agency TT.

According to SVA, there’s no risk the the infection will spread to other farms.

“We think this is an old infection that has resurfaced following some digging in the cow field. We’ve received some unconfirmed information that there were anthrax graves there. But the infection doesn’t spread through the air,” said Hallgren.

“Only dying or dead animals are contagious, and these animals are never in the food supply chain.”

SVA states that the disease occurs practically worldwide. The latest Swedish case was found in 2008 – prior to that, no case had been discovered since 1981.

Humans can be infected if they have close contact with animals who are dying of the disease, or have died.

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Cattle on stranded ship should be killed, Spanish vet report says

More than 850 cows that were stranded aboard a ship in the Mediterranean for months are not fit for transport, a confidential report by Spanish government veterinarians said, according to Reuters.

Cattle on stranded ship should be killed, Spanish vet report says
The ship had struggled to find buyers for the cattle after it was rejected from Turkey. Illustration photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

The ship carrying the cattle, called Karim Allah, had struggled to find a buyer for the cattle for the past two months. It finally docked in the southeastern Spanish port of Cartagena on Thursday.

Several countries rejected the animals for fear they had bovine bluetongue virus, which causes lameness and haemorrhaging among cattle, but does not affect humans.

The veterinarians’ report, seen by Reuters, said the animals had suffered from the journey, and were unwell and not fit for transport outside the EU. 

It did not say if the cattle had bluetongue disease, but recommended euthanasia as the best solution for their health and welfare.

The cattle likely have severe health problems after their “hellish” crossing, animal rights activist Silvia Barquero, director of the Igualdad Animal NGO, told Reuters.

The NGO is calling for Spain to end the transport of animals outside the EU.


The Agriculture Ministry told Reuters it will make appropriate decisions after analysing information from the inspection.

The ship left Cartagena to deliver the cattle to Turkey, but authorities there blocked the shipment fearing bluetongue infection.

This led to several other countries refusing entry even to replenish animal feed, forcing the cows to go several days with just water.

The Agriculture Ministry’s experts said 864 animals were alive on board. Twenty-two cows died at sea, with two corpses still aboard. The remains of others were chopped up and thrown overboard during the journey, the report said.

Ownership of the cattle is unclear.